Projects funded under the NRC's Aging in Place Challenge program and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging joint call for proposals

 

Sensor networks for safe and engaged mature drivers (SENSE-MD)

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Photo of the driving simulator.

Aging in place has many benefits. Older Canadians often need to drive in order to take advantage of these benefits as a consequence of Canada's climate and geography. Aging brings natural and illness-related health declines putting mature drivers at risk for driving accidents. Furthermore, the unplanned cessation of driving causes isolation, leading to increased risk of dementia, poorer physical and mental health, and reduced ability to engage in social and physical activities. This project aims to provide a solution for a key missing element in the current driver assessment regime: knowledge of changes in risk and driving capacity based on valuable data from onboard vehicle sensors. Clinical assessments are infrequent and only indirectly measure driving skills, increasing risks for premature driving cessation and isolation. The SENSE-MD project will offer a technology-based solution that delivers information to the driver regarding changes in risks. This information can also be shared with families and caregivers as appropriate.

Collaborators:

  • Carleton University
  • NRC's Aerospace Research Centre

Contact: Dr. Jocelyn Keillor, Senior Research Officer, Aerospace Research Centre, NRC

Match making: empowering older adults to age in place through matching automated medication adherence technology to ability

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Photo of a senior couple at their kitchen counter. The wife is handing her husband a bottle of medicine. The husband has his laptop in front of him.

This project aims to develop and validate an evidence-based decision-making guide. This guide will enable older adults, caregivers and clinicians to select the most appropriate medication adherence technology to address physical, cognitive, perception, motivational and environmental barriers to medication taking. To achieve this goal, the project incorporates multiple studies to identify tools by which to measure different barriers to medication taking, develop a classification system for medication adherence technology, examine user experience of a variety of medication adherence technologies with older adults who have various limitations in medication taking, and assess in home use and acceptance of medication adherence technology and impact on caregiver burden.

Collaborators:

  • The University of Waterloo
  • NRC's Advanced Electronics and Photonics Research Centre

Contact: Ryan H. Griffin, Advanced Electronics and Photonics Research Centre, NRC

Dementia caregivers skills training through virtual reality simulation (VR-SIM CARERS)

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Person wearing virtual reality goggles. She is facing a computer screen that shows an artificial intelligence avatar.

Dementia is a major public health challenge. Most persons with dementia are cared for at home by community caregivers who often lack the skills to provide safe and effective care. In-person skills-training interventions can be effective in imparting skills but are time and resource intensive and not widely accessible. Virtual reality-based (VR) simulation training is one solution that could overcome these deficits. This project aims to:

  1. employ a co-design approach (including input from caregivers and typical demographic representatives) to develop and validate an immersive VR simulation training environment for caregivers of persons with dementia;
  2. evaluate the developed VR simulation training for feasibility, acceptability and tolerability;
  3. conduct pilot testing of the developed VR simulation training to examine:
    • the initial clinical efficacy in improving quality of relationship with persons with dementia, competence, resilience, and reducing depression and stress in caregivers; and
    • the readiness for implementation in the community.

Collaborators:

  • Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
  • NRC's Medical Devices Research Centre
Contact: Michael Smith, Medical Devices, NRC