Aging-in-Place with ADRD

The project aims to support aging in place for individuals living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (ADRD) and their care-givers. The goal is to aid independent living for these individuals as long as possible. It also seeks to allow remote caregivers to quickly check-in and monitor with minimal to no invasion of privacy of the people.

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Client: Academic Project                    Role: UX Researcher                   Time: 10 Weeks

Team: Sravya Amancherla, Dawson Hoppes, Naishi Jain, Zora Moore, Dhruvi Patel, Mishi Soni

 

Project

Focus.

Support aging in place for individuals having early-stage ADRD and their care partners.

  • Understand the needs, challenges and expectations of individuals with ADRD for in-home support and remote monitoring for their care partners.

  • Design solutions using off-the-shelf smart technologies to support both populations

 

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Background

Research.


As a part of the background research, we conducted an extensive literature review. We surveyed 71 research papers and articles and identified key themes pervading across the literature.

 

Integrated Care

Unfamiliar devices in a home can prompt anxiety and remind the individual they are being monitored. Future systems should integrate into the environment.

 

Don’t “Fix” the Person

An individual with ADRD may need more support than others, but it does not mean they are broken
Move away from illness narrative, to a narrative of skill, worth, and ability.

 

Safety vs Autonomy

The main priority of a care partner is to keep the individual they support, safe. Whereas, a care recipient wants to feel in control and preserve their independence. Finding the right balance is crucial.

Personalization

Everyone’s condition is different and requires different levels of support
Care partners need the ability to monitor and adapt a system’s settings in a way that it grows with the condition.

Care partner Burden

Every level of personalization adds another responsibility to the caregiver. Future systems should be cognizant of this fact and think through new ways to train and make the systems user-friendly.

 

Holistic Care

The system has to support the individual and caregiver’s overall well-being, rather than just focusing on medical issues. They help combat these feelings by supporting engagement, social participation, and leisure. 

 

User Research:

Contextual Inquiries.


We conducted 6 contextual interviews to

  • Understand the care partner's involvement in the daily life of the individual with ADRD (Extent & Activities).
  • Learn from the participant about the technologies they currently use to support the individuals with ADRD and to monitor their health and wellbeing. 
  • Understand the participant’s needs and challenges with in-person and remote caregiving.
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Analysis and

Synthesis.

 

We synthesised all the interviews and our research into experience models that gave us a deeper understanding of the relationship between the care partners and care recipients, their needs, pain points, and their exact expectations from technology. 

 

 

Affinity Diagram

We analysed the interviews and built an affinity map which helped us understand the broader themes in our data. 

 

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Identity Model 

To understand the participants better, we created an identity model that captured the sources of pride, self-expression, and core values that enhance a person’s sense of self.

We identified 4 identity types corresponding to the different kinds of care partners (I AM); 2 for what different care partners need (I WANT) and 3 for how they care for the recipients (I DO). These elements are not mutually exclusive and every care partner may be a mix of these elements.

 

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Day-in-the-Life Model 

 

A care partner has to be there for the care recipient at all times while taking care of their personal responsibilities. So, a typical day-in-their life weaves between completing their daily tasks while monitoring and supporting their partner. We tried to understand the role technology plays in all this.


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The top of the model lays out the daily routine of a care partner and shows the personal responsibilities they have to manage. (I.e. work, shopping, social life, etc.) The bottom half of the model shows the specific responsibilities they have as they support the care recipient. 

 

Key Insights

Caregiving is Part of My Life

“I manage my time and make sure my caregiving breaks don’t affect my workflow.” 

Tech Makes Caregiving Easier

“When my care recipient fell, I wasn’t aware until I heard them yelling through the video-calling device.” 

Checking - In

“My care recipient manages their own medication, but I like to check to pill box later in the day to see if they actually took their meds.”

Tech Keeps Me in the Loop

"Caregiving requires me to be more updated with the care recipient’s life and I'd like to receive updates on care recipients' activities and wellbeing."

 

Tech is Part of My Routine

"I use tech for checking-in through texting/calling, tracking my care recipients through GPS and scheduling our time."

 

 

Ideation and

Product Concepts.


From our research and analysis, we ideated and came up with 2 product concepts. 

 

 

Care+

Care+ is a mobile application that leverages smart speakers to provide assistance with various caregiving activities and regular subtle check-ins
It can be integrated with any smart speaker device such as Amazon Echo or Google Home

 


Features:

Personalizable routine template: It provides routine templates specifically for people with ADRD that can be personalized based on the needs of the CR.

Live activity updates: It allows the care partner to view their care receiver’s daily activities and provides alerts/notification to the care partner for specific incidents that might require the care partner’s attention

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Care Loop


Care loop is a smart ring which can be integrated with any smart-home device.

Features:
It uses the framework of time-task-proximity
The smart-home device detects the location of the care receiver using the smart ring  
The care receiver will get alerts/notification about different tasks/activities based on their location

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Next Steps


Contextual Interviews with individuals having ADRD and their care-partners
Co-design with both populations
Design and evaluation of interactive mockups

To get in touch, send a mail to [email protected]