SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE: Dementia and Assistive Technology

SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE: Dementia and Assistive Technology

Dementia is a condition that affects hundreds of thousands of elderly Australians, as well as their immediate relatives or carers. The condition involves the long-term degradation of a person’s ability to think and remember, and unfortunately has no cure. Individuals who suffer from dementia often require greater assistance from friends and family to perform daily tasks. They often rely on assistive technology, which are devices or apparatuses used to support people living with a disability, prevent dangerous situations occurring and maintain a sense of independence and wellbeing.

Your challenge: Imagine that an elderly family member has started exhibiting signs of dementia. Design a device to help them with a morning task. Present your solution in a short video, imagining that you were pitching to NSW Department of Health, who may fund development of your idea.

When designing your assistive technology, consider… 

  •  A common morning activity that a person living with dementia may struggle with. Examples include: forgetting to eat breakfast, getting up to use the bathroom but forgetting why they got up, forgetting to take medication, or simply preparing for the days’ activities.
  • The benefits for friends and family who would care for a person with dementia
  • How your solution will integrate seamlessly into the daily life of an older person, who may not be as tech-savvy or as comfortable with new technology as you
  • What might be the most effective way to notify or communicate with an individual who has dementia, if they struggle to remember details or check memory cues
  • Then, explain your solution in detail – including expected cost, ease of use, privacy/security concerns, and special features of your idea will make your technology appealing to elderly people living with dementia.

Video Length:2 minutes

Submit: Make sure you upload it to the Girls in Engineering Club Facebook group by Monday 30th of September, and you’ll have a chance to win prizes for participating!

(Don’t have Facebook? Email a link to your video to wiec@unsw.edu.au and you’ll still be in the running to win prizes!)

Need some inspo? Check out these articles: 

Different assistive technology innovations for those with dementia and how smart devices might help

A range of basic devices available to assist carers or those with dementia

Future tech which aims to detect changes in behaviour so those with dementia can stay home longer