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AI research must also help family caregivers

Three older friends smiling.

You’re going to hear a lot from us about how technology can help us live independently longer as we age. Parallel to that goal: How can technology help family caregivers worry less, toil less and love more?

In their efforts to support healthy aging, IBM and its Cognitive Horizons network of universities has just added a new partner, the Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center at U.C. San Diego. Together, they’ve launched a research initiative to “identify early signs of cognitive impairment and dementia to help delay impairment and extend independent living options for the aging population.”

Sounds great: Identify the markers for cognitive decline to address these early. But there’s a missing link (or maybe IBM just forgot to include it?): The family members who play a huge role in helping senior loved ones continue living ‘independently’ in their home of choice.

Family input is critical to this and other studies, especially for seniors who are already halfway down the path of mental decline and rely on others to make decisions for them. Without input and data from family caregivers, without their observations and self-taught lessons, IBM and its partners will solve only half of the equation, and “discover” only half of the solution.

What’s your take on this new research initiative? Add a comment below.


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