ABBY is an ‘Ambient Activity Technology’ installed in Long-term care facilities to provide people who live with dementia opportunities to engage in meaningful activity, as a non-pharmaceutical means of managing responsive behaviour.
ABBY provides opportunities for residents to engage with familiar activity experiences, such as petting a cat or turning a steering wheel. When a resident interacts with any of Abby’s activity functions, ABBY will play pre-selected and familiar pictures, videos, and songs, to trigger a memory.
Mounted to the wall, ABBY is available to residents on a 24/7 basis, with little support required by care-providers.
The goals of ABBY are to
- Help reduce care-giver burden and stress.
- Provide meaningful engagement opportunities to a resident by engaging the remaining abilities of the resident.
- Reinforce familiarity and personal identity by providing familiar and personal media content to the resident.
- Promote physical activity.
- Enhance confidence and promote independence.
- Provide to care-professionals a flexible activity platform that can adapt to the needs of people who live with dementia.
Person-centered Care technology
ABBY works with the remaining abilities of the resident to provide ‘memory activation’ through motion and appropriate cueing. Adaptable activities and memory triggers are built into a familiar and easy to use design. ABBY builds on habits and natural curiosity of residents to trigger engaged interaction.
- Perception and action are coordinated through ergonomic design
and simple controls such as buttons and switches.
- Personal identity is affirmed through personalized content.
- Nurturing and socialization is enabled through petting the cat.
- Direct linkage of inputs to content inspires curiosity and discovery.
- Appropriate, and ability focused activities create fun.
Why ABBY works
Human beings are equipped with two memory systems – declarative (explicit) memory, and implicit (non-declarative) memory. People who live with dementia will begin to lose declarative memory, but will retain implicit memory functionality much longer, which supports unconscious, procedural/ motor tasks. ABBY taps into the implicit memory system by providing a resident familiar tangible activity interfaces, such as petting a cat, turning a wheel, flipping a switch, or pushing a button. These activity engagements are used as inputs to play familiar media content to the resident, thereby triggering a memory. When activated by a cue, such as a snippet of a song, or an image of a familiar place or time meaningful to a resident, a memory can be retrieved. The more familiar the media content, the more impactful the ‘memory-trigger’ effect. The most deep-seated long-term memories are of young adulthood, when life is full of new and exciting experiences. When absorbed in a meaningful memory, we are in a ‘state of flow’ and cannot exhibit a responsive behaviour.