eSticky: your digital post-it note
Older people are bearers of wisdom and experience, but also keepers of memory and memories related to history and family. However, the phenomenon of aging is also inevitably linked to loss of function and gradual deterioration of memory. In fact, older people often tend to forget some things, as if that sophisticated system of memories wears out, making them complicated to retrieve and increasingly less clear.
Added to this picture is the possibility of the onset of dementia, or neurodegenerative diseases that cause severe damage to a person’s memory.
The eSticky project aims to help older people gain new perspectives by helping them remember their daily commitments and small appointments.
Memory loss: physiological aspects and onset of dementia
Like all other cells, as we age, neurons can also become damaged. This is why memory impairment is considered a completely physiological phenomenon.
However, the memory deterioration that is associated with natural aging is not always physiological, hiding behind it the onset of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. This neurodegenerative disease causes an increasing loss of neurons, especially in the areas responsible for memory. Initially, the person with Alzheimer’s tends to forget recent episodes and information, but later cognitive decline sets in, leading to total loss of independence.
The effects of Alzheimer’s on memory
Memory constitutes one of the abilities most impaired by Alzheimer’s. To understand how it is weakened by the disease, we can consider it articulated into four stages:
- acquisition and encoding of information;
In fact, memory is not a unitary system, but is made up of a series of subsets that differ from each other in relation to the underlying nerve structures and on the basis of the functions they perform.
It was Alois Alzheimer who first described Alzheimer’s disease as a form of presenile dementia in 1907. Today it is one of the most frequently diagnosed forms of dementia. This disease is called dementia precisely because it erodes the cognitive faculties, which are the resources of memory and which are progressively destroyed.
Recognizing the presence of the disease is one of the most complicated and insidious challenges even for the patient’s family members. In the first stage of the disease, the one characterized by small warning signs, the family members of the person with Alzheimer’s do not worry in front of the small forgetfulness, which is justified by aging. However, we should not forget that it is always possible for an elderly person to call an object by a name different from his or her own, repeat the same questions, tell the same story several times, or forget the place where he or she stored the objects.
eSticky: the digital post-it note that helps memory
We are seven partners from four European countries-Italy, Austria, Cyprus and Poland. We have brought our design, marketing and technology skills and knowledge together in the eSticky project for AAL, the European research and development program supporting active and independent living
What we did was to imagine a digital post-it note that helps older people remember their daily commitments and small appointments. A network of graphic displays assist the user by showing important information, such as:
- scheduled events;
- medication reminders;
- nutritional recommendations.
The aim of the project is to support people with memory problems so that they maintain their own autonomy in life.
To live their days independently.