Researchers receive National Institute of Health grant to develop a cognitive assistive technology for dementia homecare
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Project PI Dr. Guoliang Fan, Cal and Marilyn Vogt Professor of Engineering in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) and Co-PI Dr. Emily Roberts in the Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising, College of Human Sciences (HSCI), are collaborating on the development of an innovative cognitive assistive technology in response to increasingly significant issues facing homecare for individuals with dementia and their caregivers. There are currently approximately 46.8 million people with dementia worldwide and this number is expected to reach 131.5 million by 2050. In the US, 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia and by 2050, this number is projected to grow to 13.8 million. This project aims to provide a wearable home-use device for individuals with dementia to improve the quality and sustainability of homecare that is beneficial to both care recipients and caregivers.
Dr. Fan explains that the objective of this project is to develop an innovative cognitive assistive technology, called CATcare, which is specifically designed to provide two-way assistance to the dementia caregiver and care recipient dyad living at home. “CATcare will be a wearable device designed to enable the individual with dementia more independence and situational awareness in the home setting, as well as to improve his or her quality of living with less reliance on the caregiver, instilling more confidence and autonomy. Caregivers, on the other hand, will be able to fully program, adjust, and customize the system for a given living environment based on the care recipient’s current habits, needs and conditions.”
“The opportunities that CATcare can provide as a homecare device can potentially prolong the period that the individual with dementia is able to age in place in their home, reducing the financial burden to both the government and care recipients as well as emotional and physical stress to caregivers” explains Dr. Roberts. “This has wide ranging implications to address the challenges of dementia homecare as well as building autonomy for individuals living with dementia and resilience for their caregivers.”
This NIH R-15 grant for Oklahoma State University will involve several undergraduate and graduate research assistants over the 3-year period, as well as the development of a human factors lab in the Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising in the College of Human Sciences for the CATcare testing. This lab will include a mock-up home environment which will also serve to support other environmental design and assistive technology research focused on an aging population.
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