Smart home automation technology to support caring of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia: an early intervention framework.

Disability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology(2022)

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PURPOSE:Home automation technology comprising of Internet of Things and Smart gadgets is a rapidly growing industry that is projected to have a major scope for ageing-in-place and caregiving. This study examined the feasibility and cost-benefits of a personalized home automation intervention for care of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia (ADRD) with emphasis on their safety and independence, and reduction of care burden. METHODS:A mixed method intervention study was conducted with five dyads each comprising of a caregiver and care recipient with ADRD. Each dyad received personalized home automation intervention with individualized goals centred on home safety, activity engagement, and caregiver-recipient connectivity. The goals were created and monitored using goal attainment scaling (GAS). The dyads were followed up after three months with a home visit and interview. Goal attainment scoring and thematic analysis of the interviews were conducted to examine the findings from the study. RESULTS:All dyads indicated positive goal attainment between pre and post intervention. Goals that were met were complimented by the categories of peace of mind, self-efficacy, and care recipient engagement, while unmet goals as well as complexities with the technology were elucidated under challenges. Overarching and conceptually linked themes from the study were unfamiliarity, value, and timing. CONCLUSION:Home automation technology has the potential to be adapted to promote independence and safety of individuals with ADRD while relieving care burden. Nonetheless, we propose an early intervention framework to overcome identified challenges and optimize the technology's usability and sustainability.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONHome automation involving Internet of Things and Smart gadgets has gained rapid popularity owing to the comfort and connectivity they provide to mainstream consumers.The technology has an emerging significance to ageing-in-place and care of individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia (ADRD) as it can be adapted and implemented to enhance home safety and activity engagement of the care recipients while also strengthening their connectivity with the caregivers.Unfamiliarity with the technology compounded by the progression of ADRD can, however, be detrimental to its adoption.Individualized focus and early integration of the technology for caregiver-care recipient dyads can mitigate these challenges and optimize its usability and long-term value in relation to ageing-in-place and caregiver wellbeing.
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