AAL-WELL: AAL technologies and wellness for people with mild cognitive impairment

A. Sixsmith, Alex Mihailidis, Arlene Astell, L.ouise Nygard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: A globally aging population demands innovative approaches to ensure people across societies can live and age well. In particular there is a need to move from health and social agendas that emphasise dependency in later life to ones that promote active aging at home. AAL-WELL is a collaboration between Simon Fraser University and University of Toronto (Cananda), University of Sheffield (UK) and Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) funded under the ERA-AGE program to harness the potential of ambient assistive living (AAL) technology to promote active and healthy aging with a specific focus on older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Background: Our research questions are: (i) What needs do older adults with MCI prioritise that AAL-based systems could meet and are there cultural/national differences in these needs? (ii) How can AAL-based systems and services be used to enhance the well-being of older adults with MCI and enable them to live more independently? (iii) What are the barriers and facilitators to the uptake of AAL by older adults with MCI, and how can AAL be effectively exploited? In addition, AAL-WELL will: (iv) Develop an international and multidisciplinary network of collaborators to share best practice and expertise, promote the building and transfer of knowledge by working together with various stakeholder groups; (v) Plan the commercialization of AAL products and services resulting from this project; (vi) Build research capacity and expertise by developing a critical mass of skills and expertise to achieve excellence in research; and (vii) Work beyond disciplinary and national boundaries. Method: Through the completion of four work packages, this project will develop and test various AAL technologies to support older adults with MCI. The project (WP1) will first learn about the needs and preferences of older adults with MCI to determine the types of technologies that should be built and the features these should include. A primary outcome of this WP will be example user scenarios. Next, these scenarios will be used to develop specific models that will allow for a systematic approach to be applied in the development of examples of innovative and novel AAL technologies through an iterative and userdriven process (WP2). Finally, these applications will be tested through user trials (WP3) that will focus on determining the usability and appropriateness of each system. Results & Discussion: While people with MCI experience declines in cognitive abilities, these are not the same level and effect as dementia. Help and support through technology should be focused on ensuring full social participation, rather than on more fundamental activities of daily living and safety and security. For instance, easy to use interfaces using relational agents will help people with MCI use and engage with everyday technologies and information systems. The resulting technologies have the potential to support older adults to remain in their own communities and homes and will help to increase life lived without disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-155
Number of pages2
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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