Social Support Aid for People with Dementia

Period of Performance: 08/01/2015 - 03/31/2016

$786K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Advanced Medical Electronics Corporation
MAPLE GROVE, MN 55369
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This project develops a novel social support aid (SSA) to allow persons with dementia (PWDs) to more fully engage in their social network and enhance their quality of life. The SSA will assist people in an early stage of dementia, e.g., Alzheimer's disease or related dementia, who desire social interaction, but struggle to remember names and relationships. It provides memory cuing by displaying and/or announcing the names and relationships of the people with whom PWDs are engaged. We anticipate that the SSA will offer robust support for care partners and PWDs in various communities. The SSA is not intended to replace caregiver aids, but rather augment them to further improve quality of life. Millions of Americans have dementia, the loss of mental functions, e.g., thinking, memory, and reasoning, which interferes with their daily functioning. While some cases of dementia are caused by medical conditions that can be treated, most cannot be reversed. Hence, the focus switches from treatment to palliative care, i.e., developing a plan to make life easier and more comfortable for individuals with dementia and their caregivers. Assistive technologies to enhance living with dementia, let alone studies that evaluate their efficacy, are underdeveloped. The proposed project aims to begin filling this scientific and clinical gap by developing a social support aid and formally evaluating its utility via a sufficiently powered randomized controlled trial.