People with dementia lose their abilities to perform psychomotor tasks, such as activities of daily living (ADLs), when they do not use them. This loss results in lowered self- esteem and a reduced sense of control over self and personal space. We propose to develop a new tool for teaching caregivers about preserving functional ability during ADLs. This tool includes a unique simulator that enables the caregiver to practice and receive feedback on his or her ADL assistance skills by helping a virtual woman who has dementia get dressed, groom, and eat. During this project, we will develop an Android-based caregiver training app. We will test the efficacy of our app with ten home-based caregivers and the elders with dementia for whom they provide care.
Caregivers play an important role in maintaining independence and preserving the functional ability of people with dementia. Effective caregiver training on strategies that support independence improves quality of life for people with dementia and may delay their move to long-term care facilities.