Interactive care: A web-based platform for remote caregiving and functional independence in older adults with cognitive impairment

Alyssa Weakley, Xin Liu, Sanjna Duvvur, Harshita Kaushal, Nicola Mussi, Sudev Namboodiri, Yong Choi, Sarah Tomaszewski Farias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Remote family caregiving of cognitively impaired older adults has many challenges including lack of evidence-based interventions that meets the needs of both stakeholders. Further, physical distance may lead to emotional distance including feelings of loneliness and depression in the care receiver as well as helplessness and burden in the caregiver. To fill this gap, our team sought to develop the Interactive-Care (I-Care) platform which transforms and augments the traditional whiteboard, a compensatory cognitive rehabilitation tool for dementia care, to a digital format accessible from any device. I-Care provides 5 main functions: home page (orientation information), calendar, to-do list, messaging hub, and brain health center. A beta version of I-Care was developed based on usability principles from human-computer interaction literature, caregiving needs assessments, and guidelines for creating technology for older adults with cognitive impairment. The current project focuses on the first of three rounds (1. experts, 2. caregivers, 3. individuals with mild cognitive impairment/mild dementia) of iterative interface design. METHOD: Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with experts in dementia caregiving, gerontechnology, and digital health. Prior to each interview, experts were provided with the I-Care weblink and a project summary for review. All interviews were conducted over live-stream video and were audio recorded for transcription. The "share screen" function was used to demonstrate the different I-Care components and feedback was solicited. RESULTS: On a scale from 1-10, with 1 being not at all useful and 10 being very useful, experts rated I-Care as a useful tool both for individuals with mild cognitive impairment/mild dementia (M = 8.33, SD = 1.53) and remote caregivers (M = 9.33, SD = 1.15). Recommended improvements included minor modifications to the user interface (e.g., text contrast, reorganization of visual components), functionality (e.g., ability to add or subtract features based on level of cognitive impairment), and expansion (e.g., medication tracking with pillbox sensor). CONCLUSIONS: Although more data is needed, I-Care is a promising remote caregiving tool with potential to reduce emotional distance despite physical divide. Next steps include conducting similar interviews with caregivers and individuals with cognitive impairment followed by a pilot study with 10 care dyads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e055322
JournalAlzheimer's & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer's Association
Volume17
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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