Frail older people suffering from a psychogeriatric disorder often need institutional care and therefore live in nursing homes. In nursing homes, they spend most of their time indoors. Additionally, older people have an altered sensitivity to indoor environmental (IE) parameters (light, acoustics and indoor air quality (IAQ)). The aim of this field study is to describe the current IE parameters and to examine how to enhance the IE climate in the nursing home in perspective of residents’ quality of life and well-being of the healthcare professionals.
Everyday Sounds of Dementia
Based on the large body of evidence on how music provides emotional and behavioral benefits, the ‘Everyday Sounds of Dementia’ project aims to explore and identify the beneficial effects of everyday sounds for people with dementia. In this project, we combine healthcare expertise with design-research approaches to establish a knowledge framework of the added value of sound for people with dementia, and to develop and evaluate audio-based technology with immediate meaningful impact in care practices.
Building Healthy Environments for Future Users
Research activities are done in the built environment (both indoors and outdoors) with the purpose to sustain and facilitate public health and well-being while supporting individual citizens in their ambition to have a high quality of life.
The aim of the Health in the Built Environment community is to develop innovative, multidisciplinary projects to submit for funding and to exchange information. We promote our expertise to support policymakers and citizens in creating healthier surroundings that promote an active lifestyle and enhance well-being.
The network of partners from research and care institutions, SMEs, associations and People with Dementia, work towards the development of design standards for products designed for people living with dementia at home. Together with a certification company, new and existing products for People with Dementia will be evaluated and certified.
In order to actively involve people living with dementia in the development of meaningful technologies, there is a need for more detailed insights on methodological considerations necessary.
The research in this PhD study aims at achieving a more complete understanding of how people with dementia can have an active role in the different phases of development of new supportive technologies.
Access to Music
How can smart technology support people with mild-moderate dementia to benefit from the positive effects of listening to music in daily life? The quality of life of people with dementia decreases rapidly when they experience difficulties in using everyday products and lose initiative. With a focus on the interaction with music, we study how smart technology can enable human-product-interaction while adapting to loss of initiative. As a result, knowledge on interaction design will be developed to help designers create better products for people with dementia.
Exploring affective presence in the life of person with dementia
People with dementia might get isolated or lonely due to the direct and indirect implications of their diminishing cognitive abilities and loss of partner and relatives. Warm technology is a concept that pushes forward connectedness and stimulates emotional support. In this research we investigate and describe the need for affective presence in order to provide the experience of togetherness, especially by using affective touch. The unique properties of affective touch to create and experience mediated affective presence for people with dementia are studied, in different contexts and during all the stages of the disease. This work includes a longitudinal study into the potential psychosocial health benefits offered by affective presence technology, specifically robotic animal companions, for people living with dementia. The relevance of this research has become acutely clear over the last years, as the worldwide COVID pandemic and its social distancing measures has highlighted the importance of physical closeness and interpersonal touch.
COVID-19 & The Role of the Built Environment
The functionality, well-being, and quality of life of people living with dementia can be positively impacted by careful environmental design. As a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak, sudden rearrangements were made in the social and physical environment of dementia care residents. The present study aimed to explore the lessons learned regarding the built environment during the COVID-19 lockdown and to find how the built environment might contribute positively to improved well-being of dementia care residents in the future.