Artificial Intelligence Computer Vision in Senior Care: AI Wandering Prevention

Source: Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2019; Frances et. al., 2015

More than half a million Canadians are currently living with dementia, and there are 25,000 new cases of dementia diagnosed every year. It is estimated that six in ten people living with dementia will wander away at some point and possibly become lost. Missing incidents can be life-threatening and even fatal, particularly in the cold Canadian winter. A recent study by Frances et al. 2015 showed that among 673 PWD reported missing cases, 67 were found deceased, 525 alive and the rest had unknown outcomes.

“Health care providers in community setting and care facilities usually need to take care of a group of persons living with dementia, and may not be able to monitor the location of all of them at all times. Rising rate of missing people living with dementia challenges health care providers and police forces,” says a Toronto-based front-line senior care service provider.

We are living longer and longer and the increasing trend of rising incidents of dementia will not likely slow down. With the rapidly aging populations in North America, Europe, and Asia, the sustainability of public expenditures spent on caring for our elders are becoming an on-going concern for government budget committees in many countries.

Just like other areas of our lives being disrupted by technology, recent breakthroughs in AI computer vision may provide promising solutions to the sustainability problem of the senior care industry.

What is AI computer vision and how would it improve efficiency in senior care?

Computer vision technology uses artificial intelligence to enable computers and cameras to gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. From the perspective of engineering, it seeks to automate tasks that the human visual system can do. In the senior care industry, AI computer vision is being applied as a real-time wandering prevention tool.

Leveraging on the latest breakthrough in graphics processing power and heavily optimized computer vision algorithm designs, this technology automatically detects wandering acts from cameras located in the exit points and send notification alerts to care staff mobile devices regarding the location of the wandering individual.

AI Computer Vision in Adult Day Care Program

AI Wandering Prevention systems are being applied in scenarios such as Adult Day Care Programs, where seniors are being dropped off in the morning and picked up at night by their families. Currently, additional staff resources have to be deployed to prevent wandering. With the implementation of the AI system, these programs can allocate more staff resources on improving the quality of care in other aspects.

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