Date: 02 May 2010

Using smartphones to address the needs of persons with Alzheimer’s disease

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Studies have shown that within today’s society, the number of old and very old people is rapidly increasing alongside the average life expectancy. As trends in life expectancy increase, the number of age-related impairments and incidence of chronic disease within the older population is also expected to rise. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most frequently occurring diseases within the elderly population. AD involves the death of brain cells, which in turn impacts on a person’s memory, language, and thought. With the number of AD cases worldwide expected to increase, demands in health and social care will also rise. A potential solution to these demands for care provision is the use of smartphone technology. Smartphone handsets now offer the potential for explicit and implicit interactions using buttons, touch screens, motion sensing, and voice recognition. This alongside high degrees of connectivity supports handsets to capture, analyze, and distribute large amounts of data securely across great distances. A major benefit of smartphones is their ability to connect and interact with other devices through wireless communications along with supporting a variety of software applications. Therefore, considering the opportunities provided by this broadening of the modes of interaction, functionality, and the connected nature of mobile phones, a more clinically valid approach to smartphone technology is being investigated.