The progressive increase in the average human lifespan generates a rising importance of problems and issues related to ageing: these include cognitive impairment such as loss of memory, cognitive slow down, aphasia, apraxia, sensorial and movement deficit, personality and mood disorders. Cognitive impairment reduces the ability of individuals to take care of themselves and increase the risk of social isolation, institutionalization and demoralization. The elderly with mild to moderate cognitive deficits, especially when living in solitude, are significantly exposed to undeniable risks for their own safety: falling, failing to properly operated home appliances, malnutrition or unhealthy nutrition – possibly due to poverty – hygiene issues due to lack of mobility, isolation and depression; all can affect their health.
The prevalence of cognitive decline in elderly patients is one of the most important problems in Occidental countries, reaching figures for all causes of about 35.6 million people with dementia in 2010, the numbers nearly doubling every 20 years, to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050. According to the Global Burden of Disease report, dementia accounts for 4.1% of total disease burden (Disability Adjusted Life Years) among people aged 60 years and over, 11.3% of years lived with disability and 0.9% of years of life lost.
This kind of patients’ needs range from frequent aid during daily activities to dedicated medical assistance enabling independent living: monitoring health to detect, treat and manage diseases does not only increase elderly quality of life, but, in the present world scenario, grants well-being to a constantly increasing share of the population.
In this context, the goal of the project DECI is to define an innovative business model to supply assistance services (in-house for the elderly and with a remote-based approach supporting autonomy), allowing independent living for elderly people, especially for those affected by mild dementia or mild Cognitive Impairment, granting high levels of quality of life.