Technology for Elderly with Memory Impairment and Wandering Risk


Objective:The main objective of this project was to studyhow to secure the wandering of elderly persons diagnosed with dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease by using healthcare technologies. Methods:The study was carried out during a three-year period (2008-2011) in the region of South Ostrobothnia, Finland. Thirty-two elderly persons living at home and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease participated in the study. The ages of the intervention group ranged from 66 to 90 years; the average age was 81 years. A total of 63 different home care devices including 24 location based technologies were tested during the intervention.The choice of technology used was based on the individual needs of the elderly person. Results:Participants with mild stage memory impairment were able to use and benefit from the technology installed during the intervention to live more independently.The most useful devices were those that operated within the home. Nine of ten users of door alarm systems, five of nine users of GPS systems and all users of GSM systems were satisfied with the technologies. Conclusions:Location based alarm and access control technology can have a positive impact on the lives of elderly persons suffering from dementia. When chosen appropriately, technology can help to reduce or eliminate the wandering often associated with dementia.Regardless of the technology used, it should be installed when the elderly person is at the early stages of dementia; at later stages of the disease it is usually impossible for the elderly to adequately adopt the device.

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S. Perälä, K. Mäkelä, A. Salmenaho and R. Latvala, "Technology for Elderly with Memory Impairment and Wandering Risk," E-Health Telecommunication Systems and Networks, Vol. 2 No. 1, 2013, pp. 13-22. doi: 10.4236/etsn.2013.21003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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