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It is often hard to detect subtle changes in everyday activities — such as the loss of the ability to make a sandwich, dial a phone, or take medications correctly — that could indicate the onset of dementia or physical decline in adults who live alone. The dwellSense team developed new technologies to monitor the routines of elders who are at risk for cognitive decline. In-home sensors monitored routine tasks, such as taking medication, making phone calls and preparing coffee, and provided trustworthy data for long-term cognitive and functional assessment. This sensor data was then used by key stakeholders, including participants, caregivers, and clinicians, to detect and better understand the individual’s changing cognitive and physical abilities. By identifying decline at an early stage, caregivers have a chance to halt or even reverse deterioration that might otherwise result in an unsafe living situation or a transition to long-term care.
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“The loss of the ability to make a sandwich, dial a phone or take medications correctly often occurs gradually and, particularly for people who live alone, insidiously. If we can identify this decline at an early stage, we have a chance to halt and even reverse deterioration that might otherwise result in an unsafe living situation.”
Anind Dey, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
Carnegie Mellon University