What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia. It can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.
Cognitive impairment reduces the ability of individuals to take care of themselves and increase the risk of social isolation, institutionalization and demoralization.
Threfore, the elderly with mild to moderate cognitive deficits, especially when living in loneliness, are significantly exposed to irrefutable risks for their own safety. These risks include: falling, failing to properly operated home appliances, malnutrition or unhealthy nutrition – possibly due to poverty – hygiene issues due to lack of mobility, isolation and depression. All previous risks can affect their health.
Who is affected?
As a results, the number of people unable to live independently and in need of assistance due to age-related cognitive impairments, is rising worldwide. The prevalence of cognitive in elderly patients is one of the most important problems in occidental countries. It is reaching figures for all causes of about 46.8 million people with dementia in 2015, and this number will almost double every 20 years, to 75 million in 2030 and 132 million in 2050 (WHO, 2017).
According to the Global Burden of Disease report, dementia accounts for 4.1% of total disease burden (Disability Adjusted Life Years) among people aged 60 years and over, 11.3% of years lived with disability and 0.9% of years of life lost.
ICT Solutions supporting people with MCI
In this context, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) could positive effect on cognitive decline, helping people with mild cognitive impairment, improving their cognitive performance, independency and, their quality of life. ICTs could support people with mild cognitive impairment in the activities of daily living and could slow down the progression of the disease.
Some of the benefits of using ICTs in MCI support are:
- ICTs give a high degree of personalisation and control.
- Using ICTs with other services or activities will become them more appealing and engaging.
- ICTs allow interactions with people in an easy way.
- ICTs allow participation in the world, being an active citizen.
- Access to free or very cheap resources
- ICTs open up paths for intellectual and physical stimulation.