The increasing number of older adults with cognitive deficits, including dementia, poses a major challenge for public health in the United States. At the same time, the limited number of informal and professional caregivers available to support this rapidly growing population is of mounting concern. Not only does population aging limit the number of potential caregivers, but extant caregivers often lack skills to provide quality care. The integration of intelligent assistive technologies (IAT), including devices, robotics and sensors in many forms, into eldercare, may offer opportunities to reduce caregiver burden and enhance healthcare services while improving the quality of life among older adults with mild to severe cognitive deficits. However, many caregivers and their care recipients lack access to these technologies. The reasons for this reduced access are multifactorial, including the digital divide, sociocultural factors, and technological literacy. This mini review investigates the emerging use of IAT available to caregivers and older adults with cognitive deficits and explores the challenges in socioeconomic status and technological literacy as well as ethical and legal implications that should be considered in the design and development of IAT for older adults with cognitive deficits. Drawing from existing literature, it will suggest frameworks for design and adoption aimed at increased and equitable access for this vulnerable population.
Keywords: agile design; artificial intelligence; cognitive deficits; compassionate design; digital divide; intelligent assistive technologies; robotics.
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