The current year’s recipient of the Canadian Consortium for Neurodegeneration in Aging CCNA) award is Dr. Charlene Chu, whose research project is titled “Developing and evaluating an artificially intelligent system to monitor functional decline and quality of life of older adults with dementia in the community”.
Often, older adults returning home from rehabilitation or acute care are at a higher risk of decline in their capability to function and their physical capacities. This can lead to increased re-admittance into the health care system, and even into long-term care institutions to obtain the help needed for daily living. Traditional methods of data collection regarding loss of mobility, overall physical function or social interactions are limited by scheduling issues and lack of understanding from the participants, among other problems. Dr. Chu’s project is to capture clinically-relevant data of small changes in a non-intrusive way by using artificial intelligence (AI) in the home. Based on a sensor system, the AI unit would be assessed to ensure its accuracy, acceptability and responsiveness. In the first stage of the project, participants will be recruited and monitored for three months, to train the AI unit and develop its learning algorithms with the assistance of a clinician. The second part of the project will see a subsequent group of participants monitored at home, to assess the acceptability and responsiveness of the unit. Dr. Chu is collaborating with engineers who have extensive experience with sensor-based technology.
The outcome of this project will inform further tailored interventions for older adults to maintain their quality of life within their communities, and should generate considerable health care savings.