Challenges for older people with dementia in ordinary housing: research issues

Author: Agneta Malmgren Fange  STSM Period: 2018-08-27 – 2018-08-31


Hosting institution: Department of Information Engineering. Universita Polytechnica delle Marche. Ancona, Italy

From ITC: No



1. The aim of this STSM is to deepen the analysis of the open research challenges and issues in the area of sensor devices and systems to monitor elderly people suffering from dementia in ordinary housing, focusing on real experiences.

Further aims to be achieved: a) submission of at least one joint paper on Challenges in conducting research on technology in the homes of people with dementia to a special issue on Smart homes will be made at the end of the STSM; b) additional papers in manuscript; c) discussions on how to proceed with the use of sensor data for the detection of activity and mobility patterns in the homes, including prototype testing; d) a joint basis for future funding proposals, including an extended network.

2. Changes in activity and mobility patterns among people with cognitive decline and dementia diseases are common and novel methods to detect early changes will contribute to safety, functionality and accessibility in the homes. This type of technology can be integrated in the design and building of homes for older people, however, further development is needed both in terms of the technology itself as well as methods to investigate its usefulness for older people themselves as well as for, families and informal and formal caregivers. This joint project, involving experts in the field of technology and from the health sciences sector will also contribute with specific knowledge on challenges to conducting this type of research in real housing contexts.

3. Lab environments for simulating the use of sensor based technologies are available at the host institution, thus allowing the researchers to test ideas and equipment on-site. Novel methods for analysing behavioural data (i.e. data on activity and movement patterns) will be investigated.

4. This STSM is based on previous research collaboration between Prof Malmgren Fänge and Dr Spinsante, in particular related to the on-going Home4Dem project, coordinated by the Italian Institute of Research on Aging and Health, INRCA. The Home4Dem project involves development and testing of a sensor based surveillance system, including a mobile application for alarms and behavioral analyses. Knowledge and experiences from this and other project in Italy and Sweden will underfeed the proposed STSM and its outcomes.

Proposed workplan:

  • DAY 1: Meeting with research staff at the hosting institution, to mutually introduce research topics of interest and share new research ideas and challenges. During the meeting, a couple of relevant research challenges will be identified, and a common research strategy will be highlighted, involving all the research groups interested at Lund University and DII (hosting institution);
  •  DAY 2: Meeting with research staff at hosting institution and with researchers from the Italian National Institute on Health and Science on Ageing – INRCA, to present key projects for discussions. Meeting people from INRCA will allow getting in touch with real experiences with users, sharing knowledge and comparing experiences with Lund University. During DAY 2, time will be devoted to joint collaboration on papers over which researchers at Lund University and DII have been collaborating since a few months through online collaborative tools (skype, emails);
  • DAY 3 and 4: It is planned to spend time on papers writing, to finalize the ongoing drafts, and include contributions from real experiences provided by INRCA and Lund University;
  •  DAY 5: Submission of the joint paper to a special issue of Technologies – “Smart Homes and Assisted Living for Ageing Population: From Sensors to Services”; summing up further work on a second paper on resource utilization in dementia; discussion and decisions on further joint collaboration, especially joint papers and project designs for further funding proposals.During the STSM prof Malmgren Fänge will be accompanied by two young researchers, Dr Björg Thordardottir and Dr Connie Lethin. They are very closely involved in the ongoing projects on technology in the homes of people with dementia and their participation is crucial. The funding proposal below is based on three researchers.