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Smart watches can help you manage your mood and emotions

Added by Gary Cornelius 8 months ago

Dementia can lead to many challenges when managing your emotions. There can be many causes of emotion outbursts such as a lack of sleep, constipation, pain, infections, confusion from noises, lights or social events etc. Difficulties managing things are often due to difficulties measuring things – And when you can’t easily recall how your last sleep was, or when you last went to the toilet and other recent events what can you do?..

We found from our work with smart watches over several years that they can be great help! These watches can not only help you track sleep, pain, activity and many other things but they can also help you trend these changes and even notify you to take certain actions in a similar way to you might do yourself when you are more in balance with the events around you.

In particular it can be useful to monitor sleep heart rate, surface skin temperature, sweating. Further information into the our research in this are can be found at:

Further information about the use of similar technologies used for epilepsy can be found here: Further information about the use of similar technologies for autism can be found here:

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Making the right watch choices for living with dementia

Added by Gary Cornelius 8 months ago

Disruption to the natural sleep wake/cycle and circadian rhythm is a common challenge associated with dementia. This can obviously affect time judgement and increase the number of time checks people make. We have helped people with dementia and their carers choose and use watches for many years and have learned a lot about what works and does not. Obviously if users are already used to a watch type it would be best to ensure selection is as close to what is tried and tested with that user already. For those who have never worn watches before it is a good idea to choose a watch that is strong enough to take a few extra bumps and bashes and is waterproof. We also found it a good idea to select a good strap or change the strap so it is more usable perhaps to a simple expanded/elastic, velcro or magnetic or straps which can all be comfortable and some of the easiest types to use.

Some of the slightly less obvious but extremely useful things modern smart watches can do are:
  • Sleep tracking – this can help users and carers manage poor sleep/wake cycle better.
  • Steps/exercise tracking – long periods of inactivity can massively reduce users falls risk especially where the top of the legs and not exercised and watches can do a great job at letting you know when you have been inactive for too long.
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring – there are many good reasons to track your heart rate such as for pain management. Pain can seem as difficult to track as global warming sometimes due to slow changes in pain levels over days, weeks or months and watches can do a great job helping you benchmark and trend changes that are significant!
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) – GPS can be fairly useful for navigation and orientating and supper useful for measuring things like walking speed which is one of many key wellness indicators that can be measured from a watch.

If you have dementia, live in Scotland and are thinking about getting a new watch please get in touch as we can help you. We support residential users and those in care homes and hospitals.

Low cost sensor based community care platform for Dunblane

Added by Gary Cornelius 8 months ago

New technologies are making it much easier to keep connected with loved ones and carers. One new such technology that appears to show huge promise for for community care is LoRa. LoRa is a new wireless technology that makes it possible to receive information from sensors many miles away. The technology is ground-breaking as it can help us monitor locations where there is no internet or mobile connectivity (so also it cuts costs as there is no need to pay exorbitant monthly fees for connectivity!). It can also work well where there is no power as some sensors can run on batteries for up to 10 years.

However, there are limits about what type of sensors can be used... for instance we could not stream video or sound from a sensor (too much information for LoRaWan) and we would also not want to monitor real-time physiology like heart rate of people with this (as LoRaWan is not so good with extremely fast changing data that needs to be relayed on very quickly because it may could take several minutes receive information and relay onto carers using this type of network).

If you live in a big smart city like Glasgow there are already established LoRaWan network we can connect to and use. For smaller communities LoRaWan is rare. Rapport this week updated our LoRa gateway in Dunblane...

https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/community/dunblane/

Please get in touch if you are living in Dunblane or another LoRaWan enabled location and are interested in using assistive care technologies for community care. We provide platform where users can monitor sensors in their homes which can be shared remotely with informal carers and carer groups in the community.

Heat sensing cameras detecting breathing and heart rate

Added by Gary Cornelius 8 months ago

Someones heart rate and breathing can indicate a lot about their wellness. There is an interesting article on the the BBC about the use of heat camera for monitoring physiology (heart rate and breathing).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/business-43409215/a-better-way-to-care-for-dementia-patients?intlink_from_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Ftopics%2Fcdl8n2edgrgt%2Fdementia&link_location=live-reporting-map

What is outlined in this article is a rather expensive high-end solution for hospitals and busy care homes. However, the same type of very low camera in cheap smart phones can also be altered to detect heat for this type of use case. We should be mindful this type of system requires line of sight from the camera to skin to measure heat changes.

This could work for measuring someones face in the bed or sitting on a chair but there are better technologies better PVDR based solutions for this which can sense these changes from a sensor deep under the mattress/chair seat. A better approach would be to target a fixed standing position like a hallway or in front of the kitchen sink where it may be difficult to use PVDR sensing mats.

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