In Austria about 1.2% of the population or a total of ca. 130.000 persons are affected by dementia. The increase of life expectancy will lead to a growing number of people affected in the future. Maintaining mobility can at least help delay the advance of dementia symptoms. Lack of movement is considered to be one of the prevalent risk factors for dementia in the USA and Europe. Encouraging mobility of people with dementia poses risks like getting lost or falling. For this reason technological solutions mostly focus on monitoring and restricting or even inhibiting the mobility of persons with dementia. Often considered stakeholder groups in the design and implementation of technological solutions are care personnel and relatives, making persons with dementia only passive users in the functional chain. Whenever attempts were made to increase independent mobility of people, smartphones or smart watches were used, which are known to be difficult to handle for this user group.
The project Way-Key follows the approach of promoting mobility. For persons with light to medium grades of dementia independent mobility is feasible and a legitimate need in a self-determined lifestyle. Technology should be used to support people to the necessary extent, to guide them to their goal and back home safely, and to generally encourage mobility. Relatives or care personnel will be involved only when necessary. To avoid acceptance problems and facilitate everyday use, the developed tool will be connected to an item of daily use to make it likely to be carried along by users when leaving home. Privacy protection, human dignity, ethics by design, usability and non-discrimination are central themes in the project.
Project Homepage: http://www.waykey-project.net/
Team: Peter Purgathofer, Fares Kayali, Katharina Werner, Naemi Luckner
Partners: Akademie für Altersforschung, Accessible Map Association, iLogs, Teleconsult Austria