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2005 Grant - Bakker
The Alzheimer-Friendly Virtual Home: A Caregiver Home Safety Tool
Rosemary Bakker, M.Sc.
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
New York, New York
2005 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
In-home care for someone with Alzheimer's disease can be a stressful and overwhelming job. In addition to daily tasks, such as dressing, bathing, and cooking, there are also household hazards that need to be considered. For example, people with Alzheimer's disease are prone to wandering off and are also at high risk for falls and other accidents such as burns.
Many studies have shown that homes retrofitted to suit the unique needs of people with Alzheimer's disease provide a much safer environment and reduce demands on caregivers. However, obtaining this valuable information across has been difficult.
Because it has been shown that visual learning often enhances the under-standing and retention of new information, Rosemary Baker, M.Sc., and colleagues plan to develop a virtual, interactive, internet-based home as a resource and safety tool for caregivers.
In the construction phase, the researchers will take advantage of their experience designing an elder-friendly virtual home for physician education. The Alzheimer-friendly virtual home will display a wide range of easily accessible solutions to common problems, and it will be organized by types of room, problem behavior and potential injuries.
The content will be developed from published studies, the scientists' own work and recommendations from an expert panel. The virtual home should help caregivers solve daily issues and may also increase the well-being of people with Alzheimer's disease and delay their potential institutionalization.