Even though people are generally more aware of physical age-related changes due to their external visibility, psychological age-related changes are equally, if not more, important. Events that occur with age and in seniors’ daily life – retirement, the loss of loved ones, increased isolation, and medical problems – can lead to serious problems like depression. In fact, the prevalence of depressive disorders in the elderly on the United States alone adds up to 6.5 million American aged 65 years or older.
Depression symptoms include, among others: insomnia or excessive sleeping, weight loss, fatigue and loss of energy, sadness, trouble thinking and concentrating or isolation. These can often be ignored or mistaken with normal age-related behaviour, but with proper information and monitorization, early signs of depression can be detected allowing the patient to promptly receive proper care.
Currently we have a mobile integrated solution that already collects data regarding daily life activities of seniors: communications, activity, navigation and localization and mood swings. Using this information it is possible to discover behaviour patterns and, consequently, significant changes to that patterns that may indicate signs of depression, such as a decrease in communications with friends and family, lack of activity and exiting their home, or variations in mood swings.
Author: Nino Rocha
Type: MSc thesis
Partner: Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto