ABBY Screens Display Personalized Media for Residents with Dementia

Award Date: 2019

Project Lead(s): Kate Ellis, Research Coordinator

Project Title: Use of Ambient Activity technology in nursing homes for residents with dementia

What is the issue?

The number one concern for front-line care workers in long-term care homes is helping seniors with dementia manage disruptive and agitated behaviours. Programming can only provide stimulation for part of the day. Also, programming may not work well for residents with dementia since they may become anxious or aggressive around people or situations they don’t recognize.

What did we do?

We studied a screen-based technology called ABBY, with 35 residents living with dementia. Family members provided family photographs, favourite music, and videos displayed on wall-mounted ABBY screens for each resident. We aimed to determine if ABBY would help reduce disruptive behaviours in residents, increase satisfaction among family members during visits, and provide staff with a tool they could use to help residents experiencing responsive behaviours. We conducted focus groups, questionnaires, and interviews with family members and staff to measure the impact of ABBY.

What did we find?

ABBY brought joy to residents, family members, and staff. After six months of use, more residents were participating in recreational activities without being prompted by staff or family members. Sixty percent of family members said their satisfaction with visits increased with ABBY. Reviewing photos and videos with their loved ones allowed them to reminisce about the special life they have lived together and to continue the journey. User feedback was used to refine and improve the technology to make it easier to use.