A Communication Support System for Older People with Dementia

Norman Alm, Richard Dye, Gary Gowans, Jim Campbell, Arlene Astell, Maggie Ellis
<span title="">2007</span> <i title="Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="https://fatcat.wiki/container/dsrvu6bllzai7oj3hktnc5yf4q" style="color: black;">Computer</a> </i> &nbsp;
The effects of dementia can be quite devastating for both the person with dementia and family members, as well as pose significant challenges to professional caregivers. Since effective participation in many social activities and interactions requires short-term memory, dealing with the effects of dementia becomes increasingly difficult as the condition progresses. As a result, people with dementia can become socially isolated and deprived of the range and variety of social interactions that
more &raquo; ... racterize unimpaired people's everyday lives. This can have a profound effect on the person's sense of wellbeing, and put severe strains on family and caregivers. Since dementia degrades the ability to communicate, finding ways to promote communication is vitally important. Communication is such a fundamental ability that people are treated as less than human when they can no longer communicate successfully. Sadly, this dehumanization is common in the treatment of people with dementia. 4 Caring for someone with dementia is often frustrating and upsetting. When communication fails, caregivers CIRCA lets those with short-term memory loss draw on reminiscences to converse with relatives and caregivers.The system, which software engineers, psychologists, and designers developed with caregiver input, features a touch screen that displays photos, music, video, text, and other materials to help those with dementia access long-term memory. T he short-term memory loss associated with dementia makes ordinary conversation difficult and eventually impossible. However, because long-term memory is often well-preserved, those with dementia can potentially hold conversations based on reminiscence. The Computer Interactive Reminiscence and Conversation Aid presents material from the past via a touch screen to stimulate long-term memories. A multidisciplinary team of software engineers, psychologists, and designers developed CIRCA with input throughout the design process from potential users, their families, and professional caregivers. Dementia-the loss of cognitive abilities, particularly short-term memory-usually results from Alzheimer's disease or a stroke. It primarily affects older people, with its rate of occurrence rising steeply from about one in 10 persons over age 60 to one in two over age 90. 1 Furthermore, dementia's incidence will likely increase as our population balance shifts toward the elderly. By 2030, the number of UK residents over age 60 is expected to increase by half. 2 According to the United Nations' latest population report, by 2050, more than one-fifth of the world's population will be over age 60, up from one-tenth in 2005. 3 There's currently no way to check or reverse the physical causes of dementia. Consequently, until pre-
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