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SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

The promise of technology in the future of dementia care

Abstract

Dementia is a leading cause of disability, and the prevalence of dementia is steadily increasing. Although people with dementia are living longer lives in the community, without adequate support for their declining physical and psychological needs, the majority of these individuals end up in nursing homes. With no cure in sight, and in the context of population ageing, we must consider how to care for these individuals in the future. Technologies that augment existing care can maintain a person comfortably in their community, maximize individual autonomy and promote social participation. However, to date, such technologies have rarely been used in dementia care. This Perspectives article highlights the need for affordable and appropriate technologies to assist future dementia care, outlines some of the technologies currently available and describes the many challenges to integration of such technologies. Finally, guidelines are suggested for the development and implementation of new technologies in dementia care.

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Fig. 1: International dementia statistics over time and projected.

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Acknowledgements

The author thanks J. Murfield and L. Earle for their help with preparation and referencing of this article.

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Nature Reviews Neurology thanks K. Rejdak, T. Shibata, A. S. Rigaud and L. Robinson for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Correspondence to Wendy Moyle.

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Related links

Alzheimer Master: www.alzheimermaster.com

Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration: https://www.tga.gov.au/regulation-software-medical-device

Care-O-Bot: https://www.care-o-bot.de/en/care-o-bot-4.html

COMCOG: https://home.neofect.com/blog/an_attention_and_memory_training_tool

The Talking Photo Album (CommunicATe): www.communicateat.com.au

Dawn Clocks: https://www.dawn-clocks.com/

European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/medical-devices/regulatory-framework_en

FDA: https://www.registrarcorp.com/fda-medical-devices/

Giraff: https://www.camanio.com/en/products/giraff/

Google Home: https://store.google.com/au/product/google_home

Wireless movement sensors (Just Checking): www.justchecking.com.au

Luminosity: www.luminosity.com

MARIO: http://www.mario-project.eu/portal/

MiRo: http://consequentialrobotics.com/miro/

Obi Robotic Spoon: https://meetobi.com/

PARO: http://www.parorobots.com/

RAMCIP (Robotic Assistant for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) Patients at home): http://www.ramcip-project.eu

Riken and Robear: http://www.riken.jp/en/pr/press/2015/20150223_2/

Find Me Tunstall Watch: https://www.tunstallhealthcare.com.au/findme-watch

Glossary

Artificial intelligence

(AI). An area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of machines that function and respond similarly to humans. Computerized AI systems have been designed for speech recognition, machine learning, planning and problem-solving.

Internet of Things

(IoT). The interconnection of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, which enables them to send and receive data over the Internet.

Social baggage

A metaphor that represents our experiences and memories that we bring with us from our past.

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Moyle, W. The promise of technology in the future of dementia care. Nat Rev Neurol 15, 353–359 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41582-019-0188-y

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