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The design of intelligent in-home assistive technologies: Assessing the needs of older adults with dementia and their caregivers

S. Czarnuch, A, Mihailidis

Gerontechnology 2011; 10(3):169-182 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4017/gt.2011.10.3.005.00

Abstract

Objective To determine the needs of older adults with dementia and their family caregivers during Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and the role of intelligent assistive technology (AT) in supporting these needs. Methods An 85 item questionnaire was administered to family caregivers of older adults with dementia exploring: (i) challenging ADL for an older adult with dementia to complete independently, (ii) difficult ADL for a caregiver to assist, (iii) the role of AT supporting ADL completion, and (iv) the features and functions of in-home AT designed to support ADL. Results Respondents (n=106) indicated the person they care for has partial ability to complete ADL, that private tasks (e.g., showering) are difficult to assist, and that AT designed to support ADL must be autonomous, familiar, simple and unobtrusive. Respondents also showed little knowledge of existing AT that support ADL. Conclusions Designers of AT should focus on supporting caregivers and older adults with dementia in the completion of private and personal ADL.

Keywords: needs assessment; family caregiver needs; Activities of Daily Living

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