A global increase in aging population, combined with a growing number of people with dementia, creates new challenges to develop guiding technology for people with memory disturbances in their daily activities. In this study we have tested the prototype of a wayfinding aid using predefined routes. The orientation advice was given through three modalities, visual, audio and tactile signals, two of which were used at a time. Nine subjects, aged 59–90 years (with a median age of 84 years) participated in the user study at a rehabilitation unit in Pyhäjärvi, Finland. Their severity of dementia ranged between mild and severe, and walking abilities ranged from “frail to hobby skier”. In addition, two elderly persons were recruited as control subjects. In most cases, the orientation with the wayfinding aid on predefined routes succeeded, with a few misinterpretations. The most common difficulties included: straying from the defined route, finding the right door, and the attractions of real-life context like other people. The severity of dementia didn’t seem to predict success in orientation with the wayfinding aid. Using the landmarks wasn’t as successful as using “left”, “right” and “go straight on” commands as the wayfinding advice.
Sorri, Laura; Leinonen, Eeva; and Ervasti, Mari, "WAYFINDING AID FOR THE ELDERLY WITH MEMORY DISTURBANCES" (2011). ECIS 2011 Proceedings. 137.