RadioMe: Challenges During the Development of a Real Time Tool to Support People With Dementia
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Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease which is progressive in nature. The symptoms worsen over time, leading to the deterioration of the patient’s quality of life as well as their caregivers. Being diagnosed with dementia means losing one’s own independence. There is no cure for such disease and its degree of progressiveness is variable. From a certain point on Persons with Dementia (PwD) need the presence of somebody that surveils their actions and needs. However, in the early phases of the disease, this need for person support is not permanent. The existence of Assistive Technologies (AT) can alert caregivers for these needs, giving much more freedom both for the patients and caregivers. Major challenges, however, exist for HCI researchers in designing ATs for PwD. Four challenges will be highlighted and discussed in this paper, and can be considered by other HCI researchers during design and development stages: 1) the stigma of being frail and old, and its consequences for HCI researchers, 2) technical, ethical, and legal issues with available smart devices, 3) lack of availability of database with annotated stress bio-signals from PwD, and 4) access to PwD in times of Covid-19. These challenges became evident during the development of the RadioMe system which aims to deliver a prototype aid that remixes a radio stream in real-time incorporating agitation reduction and reminders.
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