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Computation and Networking - Compunetics - promoting digital inclusion of elderly, cognitively impaired, and Alzheimer´s patients

L.R. Ramos, A.J. Xavier, D. Sigulem

Gerontechnology 2005; 3(3):123-125 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4017/gt.2005.03.03.001.00

Abstract

Our society is aging fast, and the prevalence of chronic, potentially disabling diseases is increasing exponentially, with a sizeable proportion of cognitively impaired and demented people. We urgently need new strategies for large scale physical and cognitive rehabilitation in our aging societies. The size of the need, however, contrasts with the scarcity of resources of the existing health systems. The degree of dependence on the activities of the daily living (ADLs) and the measure of cognitive impairment are good health indicators. Computation and cooperative networking can be extremely instrumental to help meet the demands of daily life. Health promotion might be well supported by interactive devices like personal computers, cell phones, global positioning devices, and electronic banking. These technologies can be reached by the Internet, ubiquitous computation, artificial intelligence, and telecommunications and they can be fundamental to maintain autonomy and independence of cognitively impaired people, helping them through their ADLs. Digital inclusion of the aged and cognitively impaired is a promising challenge, and should be based on the sound principles of human-computer interaction, networking, neuroscience and gerontology. The core objective is to construct environments that could empower cognitively impaired people and Alzheimer´s patients, enabling them to exercise their citizenship, participate and share with their community their life experiences and aspirations.
Keywords: digital inclusion; health promotion; cognitive impairment; Alzheimer disease; elderly

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Gerontechnology (ISSN/EISSN 1569-1101 1569-111X) is the official journal of the International Society for Gerontechnology