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AuthorsL.-S. Hsu, C.-K. Cheng, Y. Colindres, K.-W. Chang, C. -Y. Tai, P. -K. Chen, J. –R. Lin, Y.-L. Hsu. (2016-11-24) ;
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Yeh-Liang Hsu (2016-11-24).
Note: This paper is published on International Society for Gerontechnology (ISG 2016), vol. 15, (suppl.), pp.124-124, November, 2016

Development of Toys for Rehabilitation and Non-pharmacological Treatment of Dementia.

Purpose  Dementia is characterized by decreased cognitive functions beyond normal aging, usually associated with behavioural disturbance and other mental health disorders. As getting older, the prevalence of dementia becomes higher, resulting in a huge and negative impact on personal health. Dementia is usually not easily identifiable until it turns to be moderate or severe. Non-pharmacological treatment is the most important treatment to dementia patient’s rehabilitation in cognitive and reality orientation functions1. Non-pharmacological treatment such as music therapy, reminisce therapy, multisensory stimulation can all benefit from technological assistance. This paper presents a methodology “TOIS” for designing “toys” for non-pharmacological treatment. Several toys were developed and tested with dementia patients.  Method  There are four design elements in the methodology TOIS: (1)Training, rehabilitation is designed into simple games; (2) Objects, toys are designed into artefacts familiar to the older adults; (3) Interactivity, multisensory interactions are provided by the toys; (4) Service, all toys are connected to mobile devices for personalized settings and adjustment of difficulty levels of the toys. The rehabilitation results can be posted on social network via the mobile device App. Four non-pharmacological treatment toys: Racing, Rising Star, Remember, and WhizToys (Figure 1) have been developed using the TOIS framework. Racing is a pinwheel containing an accelerometer for sensing the walking motion of the user to control the spinning of the pinwheel and LED light. Rising Star is a basketball shooting game for upper limb exercise. Different games can be selected using App; preselected light, music and sound are triggered when the user makes a basket. Remember is a windmill containing an air flow sensor. The user blows into the sensor (for lung exercise) to trigger multi-sensory stimulation, including light, sound and smell of the season. WhizToys is based on 50cm×50cm “puzzle floor mat” modular pressure sensing units, and can be assembled freely into any size and shape according to the setup of the game requirements. WhizToys allows the user to select different games from Apps, such as music for piano, number for calculator, and colour for palette for cognitive training. The user plays the games by stepping on the pressure sensing units for lower limb exercise. Results & Discussion  A usability test was conducted at the 2015 IT Month exhibition. Several questions were asked to score from 1 to 7 points, such as easy to learn, easy to understand, and flexibility in use. Table 1 left shows the average points of 150 testers. Currently these toys are used in a dementia day care centre for a long term user experience test. Table 1 right shows the preliminary data from 6 older adults with mild dementia for two weeks. In our observation, the dementia patients not only interact with the toys but also interact with the caregivers, and seem to have fun and motivation for rehabilitation. Caregivers can observe and record the using state from the mobile device app to plan a proper way of using these toys.

Figure 1. Toys developed using the TOIS framework

 

Easy to learn

Easy to

understand

Flexibility in use

Appearance

Multi-sensory

Rehabilitation

Stability

Safety

Usage count

Rising Star

6.4

6.4

5.9

6.0

5.9

5.3

6.6

6.6

10

Racing

6.3

6.2

5.9

6.0

5.9

6.0

6.3

6.4

7

Remember

6.2

6.1

6.0

5.7

5.9

6.2

6.1

6.4

16

Table 1. The average scores of usability test (left) and user experience evaluation (right)

References

1. Simon Douglas, Ian James, Clive Ballard.
Non-pharmacological interventions in dementia. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment May 2004; 10 (3) 171-177; doi: 10.1192/apt.10.3.171

Keywords: Dementia, rehabilitation, non-pharmacological

Address: Gerontechnology Research Center, Yuan Ze University, Taoyuan, Taiwan

E: gilbert78900@gmail.com