Reduced care burden and improved quality of life in African American family caregivers: Positive impact of personalized assistive technology

Journal: Technology & Healthcare, 2021 | Collaborators: Emory University Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center & MapHabit, Inc.

BACKGROUND: African Americans living with dementia are considered less likely to seek formal institutionalized elder care and more likely to be managed in the home by family-member caregivers. Assistive technologies (the use of smart visual devices like tablets and phones) can be used effectively to guide memory-impaired individuals with a sequence of pictures showing steps to complete activities of daily living, e.g., bathing, toileting, dressing. Assistive technology so far has not been generally embraced in African American communities. 

Read More

Feasibility of personalized visual mapping assistive technology to improve functional ability in persons with dementia

Background: MapHabit™ is a novel mobile assistive technology health application that allows users to develop personalized maps that aid people living with cognitive impairment in the recall of steps needed to independently complete activities of daily living (ADLs).

Objective: To determine the feasibility and preliminary impact of a mobile health assistive technology application providing guidance to aid in the recall of steps to complete ADLs.

Methods: Fourteen Veterans (100% male, age 65 ± 9.5 years, 71% Black) and eight non-Veterans (62.5% male, age 78 ± 10.3 years, 100% Black) participants were recruited and enrolled from VA and Non-VA cognitive care clinics. A visual mapping software program was used to generate a series of personalized visual map templates focused on ADLs created within the MapHabit application. The visual maps were accessed through a mobile tablet device. A 19-item exit questionnaire assessed perceived improvement in functional ability after using the MapHabit system for three months.

Read More

Assessing Improvements in the Quality of Life of Parents of Children with Down Syndrome After Using MapHabit’s Visual Mapping Software

Georgia Bio Innovation Summit-November 2020 | Findings demonstrate that the MHS addresses the need for a personalized assistive technology tool that assists with independence amongst families with children living with Down Syndrome.

There is a growing body of evidence that assistive digital technology may improve the Quality of Life (QoL) of individuals with intellectual disabilities. The MapHabit System (MHS) is an example of such a technology, for it provides visual-mapping, step-by-step cues containing photos and audio to assist users in completing tasks. These step-by-step cues encourage the development of routines and independence.

The MHS has previously been used amongst memory impaired individuals and was shown to facilitate the accomplishment of their activities of daily living (ADL) more independently and improve their overall quality of life. Given that the MHS promotes independence, we decided to explore the potential benefits of the MHS for both individuals with a developmental disability and their caregivers.

Read More


Exploratory evaluation of a mobile health application to support activities of daily living in older veterans with cognitive impairment

American Geriatric Society-Presentation Poster Selection-May 2020 | Selected for the American Geriatric Society Presidential Poster session in May 2020. Completed in partnership with the Veterans Affairs.

INTRODUCTION: MapHabit is a novel mobile health application that allows users and/or caregivers to develop personalized maps that aid a person living with cognitive impairment in the recall of steps needed to complete ADL’s, such as bathing, toileting, and dressing.

The purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary impact of a mobile health application providing tailored guidance to aid in the recall of steps to complete activities of daily living (ADL’s).

Funding: Award from the Georgia Research Alliance to Emory University

Read More


Visual mapping assistive technology can help individuals with dementia and their caregivers successfully complete activities of daily living and enhance quality of life

NIH Caregiving Summit-March 2020 | In this peer reviewed study, we were able to show that visual mapping is a preferred method among health care professionals.

OVERVIEW: In providing information to memory-impaired individuals, a standard practice has been to use paragraphs of descriptive text. We asked whether pictorial approaches
(visual maps) might be more helpful.

METHOD: 380 healthcare professionals were shown two ways of providing information to memory-impaired individuals: A series of text paragraphs describing a planned visit to the movies, and the same episode depicted using a vertical series of pictures.

CONCLUSION: Visual maps were viewed as more effective by most healthcare professionals.

Read More


Assistive technology: Visual mapping combined with mobile software can enhance quality of life and ability to carry out activities of daily living in individuals with impaired memory

Technology & Healthcare Journal-October 2019 | Presented in October 2019. The findings in this study addressed questions concerning the feasibility of using assistive technology for individuals with memory impairments.

BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence that assistive digital technology can enhance quality of life (QOL) for individuals with various forms of cognitive impairment, including dementia.
OBJECTIVE: Assess whether the use of a visual mapping software program to manage activities of daily living would have a positive impact on QOL scores and on cognitive scores in a group of dementia residents in an adult living community.
METHODS: We compared quality-of-life scores and cognitive function scores before and after using the assistive technology for three months.

  1. QOL scores significantly improved in the memory impaired residents, as measured by a self-report questionnaire.
  2. Caregivers also reported significantly improved QOL scores in the residents, and the caregivers reported more improved
    scores than the residents did.
  3. Net Promoter Scores for residents and caregivers showed that using visual maps was highly satisfying; they would continue using this technology.
  4. Memory-impaired residents showed significantly improved scores in cognitive areas reflecting improved ability to focus and pay attention.

CONCLUSIONS: In addition to the positive findings in QOL and cognition, assistive technologies applied to dementia care are easy to access, easy to use, have little risk of side effects, and are relatively low in cost.

Read More