Monitoring the indoor environment for older people with dementia
a lesson learned
Keywords:people with dementia, care home, indoor environmental quality, sensor, problem behaviour
Dementia is a syndrome that progressively affects cognitive, behavioural and psychological functions. People with dementia may have difficulties in sensing and expressing indoor environmental changes. Sensor technologies, such as environmental sensors, can be used to evaluate indoor environmental quality by accurately detecting the indicators, including air temperature, relative humidity, illuminance, noise level, CO2, TVOC, and particulate matter. Monitoring these indicators for older people with dementia helps maintain their health and comfort. Moreover, some clues of behaviours and symptoms of older people with dementia could also be shown in the sensor data. This study used a mixed-method approach to find the links between indoor parameter variations and residentsâ€™ activities. In a care home in the Netherlands, we collected quantitative environmental data through a sensor network deployed in bedrooms and central living rooms, and the care professionals filled qualitative data by diaries. Ten residents and two care professionals were recruited to take part in observation and diary recording. During two months monitoring campaign, care professionals selected one week that recorded five-category information on residentsâ€™ daily lives: 1) building facility operation; 2) external factors; 3) details in daily lives; 4) problem behaviours or symptoms; 5) indoor comforts. By comparing the two types of data obtained, residentsâ€™ wandering and sleeping problems have been found that coincide with the data fluctuations to some extent. The timing and process of these behaviours can be presented through data analysis. But more underlying factors in behavioural changes of people with dementia still require long-term observation and validation of future research.
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