Researchers from the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and LifeBio are using artificial intelligence to connect with and improve care for older adults. The National Institute on Aging awarded the organizations a nearly $2.5 million Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop and test an online platform to facilitate life-story work for individuals with dementia. 

Research suggests reminiscence therapy, including life-story work, can be an effective way to tap into long-term memories and improve mood for individuals with dementia.

Through the grant, LifeBio is developing an online platform that transfers speech to text and generates life stories. The platform will employ new machine learning, AI and tagging to automatically build summaries of a participant’s stories, which will then be quickly and easily available to healthcare providers and caregivers, the researchers say.

The development of the online platform builds on a successful pilot project in nursing homes that demonstrated that the first-generation LifeBio product can facilitate person-centered care by helping nursing home staff better understand residents through their personal life stories.

The previous pilot study “demonstrated positive findings, such as reducing depression, increasing job satisfaction among nursing home staff as well as achieving high levels of satisfaction with the program from residents,” said Silvia Orsulic-Jeras, a research associate at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

Researchers say they hope to replicate those results and demonstrate improvements in residents’ levels of agitation, anxiety and loneliness, and relationships between those with dementia and staff.