Blog Post 1

It all began about 5 years ago, when I truly began to understand how serious Alzheimer’s can be.  My grandma, who suffered from this disease moved into our house for 2 months, and these 2 short months were the only proof I needed that something had to be done.  My grandma was just one of the over 5 million Americans suffering from this disease, and it is one of the only diseases in the top 10 deaths of Americans that is neither curable or preventable [1].  While research is constantly being done to find a cure for this disease, nothing is imminent.  For this reason, something has to be done to help these individuals and their caretakers.

Mobile technology is becoming increasingly prominent in the medical field, and Alzheimer’s is no exception to its potential benefits.  My project involves the use of mobile technology and virtual reality to assist Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers, specifically during the sundowning period.  Sundowning happens around the time the sun sets, normally around 5:00 – 6:00, and it is described as a period of restlessness where the patient tends to get very jittery and antsy.  Through the use of virtual reality, the user will be immersed in a world of their own and forget about everything around them.  This will be used to distract the user and keep them occupied during this sundowning phase, allowing the caregiver to continue with household tasks that would otherwise be difficult to accomplish.

The methods that I use to conduct this research will be vital to the success of this project.  To begin, I will need to develop a working product based on online research that I will conduct.  After the application is developed, I will look to test it on family members and friends to see if any bugs are found and if it is usable.  Once I get their approval, I will take the app to elderly patients at nursing homes and let them try it out.  This feedback will easily be the most important.  What might make sense to me might not make sense to a person with Alzheimer’s, and that is something that will need to be taken into account.  Usability will be key as the person needs to know how to use the application.  This project will take time to come full circle, but its potential benefits will make everything worth it in the end.

[1] 2017 ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE FACTS AND FIGURES.  Available FTP: http://www.alz.org/facts/

 

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