Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Maureen Mickus

Second Advisor

Debra Lindstrom

Third Advisor

Barb Betts


Dementia is the most expensive disease in the United States and its prevalence is rapidly increasing as the older adult population grows. The number of older adults diagnosed with dementia living alone is also rising, which brings about numerous safety risks. Due to the declining cognitive skills and behavior changes seen with dementia, it is important find approaches for monitoring their safety. This literature review discusses commercially available monitoring systems and empirical studies using sensor technology with older adults. It also describes a current pilot study that is exploring the use of sensor technology in the homes of cognitively impaired elders as a means to monitor the safety of these individuals. Objectives: 1) To test the feasibility of sensor technology in the home of cognitively impaired older persons living alone. 2) To evaluate the clinical value of sensor data from participating subjects. Methods: Exploratory study with a non-randomized sample of 10 subjects. Subjects will be recruited from a local healthcare organization for frail and vulnerable older adults. Sensors will be installed in the homes of subjects and data will be collected and compared to baseline routine information to detect behavior, cognitive, and condition changes over a six-month period. Outcomes: 1) It will provide important data about behavior outside the clinical setting for high-risk elders. 2) The acceptability of the technology and its impact on clinical care will be assessed through a survey administered to CentraCare staff. Conclusions: The use of sensor technology in the homes of older adults with cognitive impairments has the potential to decrease healthcare costs and increase quality of life.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access