The University of Ulster and the Fold Housing Group collaborate in the NOCTURNAL project, supported by funding from EPSRC and TSB Assisted Living Innovation Platform. The goal is to develop a solution that supports older people with mild dementia in their homes, specifically during the hours of darkness. This is a relatively new area of research and was identified as a key area of need for care recipients with dementia. It is also of interest because of the negative impact that lack of sleep and consequent anxiety causes for the informal carer in the home of the person with dementia. In their literature review on night-time care of people with dementia using Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) services, Carswell et al (2009) found in that only 7% of papers addressed night-time specific issues with a further 26% focusing on night and day activities together. Of the night-time specific papers, only half involved any form of visual data representation, indicating that there is need for research in this area.
The focus on night-time AAL services centres around lighting and guidance, motion monitoring and intervention decision-support. In the paper, the rationale for AAL services to provide reassurance, aid and guidance for the general behaviour of the care recipient and to support a stable circadian rhythm is explained.