Team: Sravya Amancherla, Dawson Hoppes, Naishi Jain, Zora Moore, Dhruvi Patel, Mishi Soni
Role: Research Lead and Product Designer
Client: Academic Project
Time: 8 months
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
ADRD: Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias
Care recipient (CR): Individuals with ADRD.
Care Partner (CP): People caring for individuals with ADRD. We have used the words care partners instead of the generally used term, caregivers as people in the early stages of the disease are fairly independent and the ones taking care of them are partnering in their care rather than being their caregivers.
While we wanted to interview both the user groups- people with ADRD(CR) and their care partners (CP), due to the Covid-19 lockdown, we were not able to interview individuals with early-stage Alzheimer's and related dementia. Hence, we decided to focus on the care partners.
While it would have been ideal to interview people with ADRD, the extensive background research that we conducted coupled with the invaluable inputs given by the care partners and the subject matter experts gave us important insights on their needs and helped us with the design.
We are hoping that CR interviews would be conducted in the future, and this design would be iterated accordingly.
As a part of the background research, we conducted an extensive literature review. We studied 71 research papers and articles and identified key themes pervading across the literature.
Unfamiliar devices in a home can prompt anxiety and remind the individual they are being monitored. Future systems should integrate into the environment.
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.
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.
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.
Every level of personalization adds another responsibility to the care partner. Future systems should be cognizant of this fact and think through new ways to train and make the systems user-friendly.
The system has to support the individual and care partner’s overall well-being, rather than just focusing on medical issues. They help combat these feelings by supporting engagement, social participation, and leisure.
We conducted 6 contextual interviews to
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.
We analysed the interviews and built an affinity map which helped us understand the broader themes in our data.
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.
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.
“I manage my time and make sure my caregiving breaks don’t affect my workflow.”
“When my care recipient fell, I wasn’t aware until I heard them yelling through the video-calling device.”
“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.”
"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."
"I use tech for checking-in through texting/calling, tracking my care recipients through GPS and scheduling our time."
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
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
Care loop is a smart ring which can be integrated with any smart-home device.
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