Smart Home Tech: an interface to provide feedback to caregivers of persons living with cognitive impairment

Neil W. Thomas, Divya K. Bhati, Laura Ault, Julien Lariviere-Chartier, Mihaela D. Petriu, Bruce Wallace, Frank Knoefel, Jeffrey A. Kaye, Rafik Goubran

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Background: Home-based sensor technologies can detect information on daily activities, such as sleep, activity level, and time spent together. This is relevant information for care partners of individuals with cognitive impairment as it can detect early changes in daily activities and cognition. The challenge is how to present thousands of data points to care partners in real-time, allowing them to make adjustments in their daily routine to help reduce burden. Method: The Collaborative Aging Research using Technology (CART) sensor platform was installed in 4 Ottawa homes of persons with cognitive impairment and their care partner. This system includes contact and motion sensors to assess home activity, a smart watch to record steps and sleep patterns, a bed sensor, and medication tracking pillboxes. Questions regarding areas of stress, the types of information that caregivers would like to receive, and how to receive their data were posed in focus group discussions involving caregivers with and without the sensor platform. An interface was designed based on participant input. Result: Eight care partners (75% female) aged 30 to 81 participated in focus groups that obtained their opinions on the usefulness of a feedback system, its content, layout, and frequency in which care partners would like to receive their sensor information. The majority of participants wished to be sent their sensor information on a weekly basis in easy to interpret graphical formats that summarized information for them. An algorithm that collects sensor data, parses appropriate measures; steps, sleep, time together in a room, and displays it in graphical representation, was developed. The user interface displays the daily summary compared to the weekly average, with the ability to navigate between day and weekly views. Conclusion: Sensor-based data needs to be displayed in an efficient and convenient manner if it is going to be used by care partners to help guide changes in behavior to reduce stress. This project designed an interface, based on user feedback. This system also has the potential to be used by clinicians to evaluate longitudinal cognitive decline. Next, we will provide participants with the CART system with sample visual reports and gather their feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere067365
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue numberS8
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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