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Technological Systems that Make Lives Better for People Living with Dementia

Used thoughtfully and respectfully, technology improves the lives of people living with dementia. That conviction is one that underpins the Center for Resilient Living (CRL), residential component of LiveWell, a pathbreaking care, treatment and research facility located in Connecticut.

LiveWell was founded as the Alzheimer’s Institute of Connecticut in 1992. Its latest reimagination – which includes River Homes and a renovated skilled-nursing and memory care facility – was designed by RLPS architects. Among Reese Hackman’s contributions was redesigned network infrastructure to enable the use of the latest effective technologies.

An Updated Telecom Infrastructure Provides Valuable Capabilities for Memory Care

While telecom network infrastructure is as basic to a building project today as electrical wiring or plumbing, older buildings were not designed for it. As happens at many facilities, LiveWell’s networking needs had been met piecemeal over time. RH made sense of the hodgepodge, untangling the cable system and establishing dedicated telecom rooms linked by a fiber optic backbone. The result is an up-to-date, robust, secure wi-fi network readily upgradable to meet future needs.

That network supports, among other technologies, CarePredict, a system of cloud-connected watch-like wearables that keep track of residents’ whereabouts as well as their vital signs and activities. The wearable notes and alerts staff, for example, if a resident’s blood pressure drops or if they are stationary longer than usual, both potential indications of a health issue. The bracelet can also alert staff, or even close a door, if a resident goes somewhere unsafe. This last capability required RH to identify and map the boundaries of multiple access zones based on staff and residents’ pathways through the facility.

Systems Allow for Learning About and Caring for People Living with Dementia

Data collected by the CarePredict system supports residents’ well-being and is also used for research, to gain insights into dementia. In the wrong context, this would all be a bit Big Brother. But LiveWell was founded with a commitment to the dignity of the people it serves, and leadership takes pains to involve residents and families in decision making. Under these circumstances, technology not only enables residents to live more confidently, knowing they are safe, but more independently, knowing they can move about, engage and participate without constantly asking for help or permission.

LiveWell is located in a Connecticut river town, Plantsville, population around 2,000, but the benefits of its research and educational missions, supported by up-to-date network infrastructure, have the potential to extend worldwide.