Ambient Activities for Dementia

Project Team

Mark Chignell
Andrea Wilkinson
Tiffany Tong



Centivizer: Version One
In cooperation with Keebee Play, we will test a prototype  of the Long Term Care Centivizer in residential care facilities beginning Fall 2016.

The Problem

Canada is experiencing a rapidly growing population of individuals and families directly and indirectly affected by dementia. According to 2016 statistics released by the Canadian Alzheimer's Society, over 564,000 Canadians suffer from dementia. This number is expected to rise to 937,000 within the next 15 years. Currently, the annual cost to Canadians to care for those with the disease is 10.4 billion dollars.

Cognitive decline is associated with changes in behavior and with the inability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). This leads to a loss of independence and an increased burden on caregivers and social services.

The goal of this project is to reduce front-line caregiver distress by substituting disruptive behavior with active and meaningful activities, distractions and appropriate interventions.  It is hoped that this approach will slow the physical and cognitive deterioration associated with aging in general, and with conditions such as dementia and mild cognitive impairment in particular. 

1. Examine the challenges of engaging people with dementia.

2. Create an application that provides meaningful interactive activities in order to modify the behavior of subjects with dementia, without requiring the continuous involvement of caregivers.

3. Develop methods to train caregivers to effectively introduce interactive activities to those diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

In conjunction with play equipment manufacturer Keebee Play, we have designed and built  interactive wall-mounted activities ("Centivizers") using touch-screens, inputs and RFIDs in order to provide personalized and engaging experiences for subjects experiencing a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. 

Expected Outcomes

By designing engaging personalized activities we hope to provide cognitive stimulation that will promote a 'state of calm' in the subject. We refer to these activities as "ambient augmentation" as they are placed in the person's residence and intended to augment and improve mood and cognition.

Project Participants
  • Centre for Social Services Engineering
  • Interactive Media Lab, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
  • Keebee Play