People with dementia are confronted with a syndrome that increasingly affects their memory, thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday activities. The average duration of dementia is between 2 and 10 years and ranges from mild cognitive impairments (MCI) to severe dementia. Dementia is overwhelming not only for the people who have it, but also for their caregivers and families and impacts them physically, psychologically and economically.
Elderly people with dementia (PwD) can focus their attention on a particular task but the more advanced the disease, shifting the attention to a new or changing activity becomes increasingly difficult. They may also find it difficult to perceive the content of information. However, on the emotional level many skills remain, but, loss of spatial and temporal orientation is contributing to behavioural instability and erratic mood changes. As far as the non-cognitive symptoms of PwD are concerned, agitation and apathy appear to be major challenges for patients and caregivers. To persuade PwD to take a specific action and thereby maintain their daily structure (e.g. come to dinner) they have to be prepared for the activity by inducing suitable mood states.
The purpose of the GREAT project - Get ready for activity - Persuasive Ambiences - is to assist people with dementia in their daily routine by creating room ambiences that support their emotions, activity and mood. Thereby the creation of room ambience is controlled by calculated data from the persons involved in the daily structure. Composed from light, sounds and scents the room ambience is modulated to induce mood and behaviour improvements in the patients as well as the caring persons.