Members of the NAR-Kolleg


Birgit KramerDr. Birgit Kramer - Dipl.-Volkswirtschaftlerin

Network Aging Research
Bergheimer Straße 20
D-69115 Heidelberg


Fellows: Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Wahl, Prof. Dr. Herbert Plischke


Acceptance of new technologies by caregivers of persons with dementia

Caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients are faced with specific issues. New technologies (e.g. AAL – Ambient Assisted Living) can help them and their loved ones to cope with everyday life. In cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA I plan to analyze new technologies and innovations that are available to take care for people with dementia and to what extend such technologies are well-known and accepted and noticed as a helpful tool.

The thesis I want to test is that with the progression of the disease, the acceptance of new technologies follows a curve for standard distribution.In the initial stage of the disease the acceptance of new technologies is rather low because a normal course of life is still possible without help. With the aggravation of the symptoms both the demand and the acceptance of new technologies increase. The acceptance again declines towards the end stage because by trend, Alzheimer’s patients live then more frequently in a nursing home and the necessity to adopt new technologies for home care is no longer given.

The awareness curve looks a bit different and precedes the acceptance curve – it’s more like a skewed bell curve with the longer tail on the left. You can’t get to adoption or acceptance for new technologies before you have awareness of them. Furthermore I will explore additional factors besides the progress of the Alzheimer’s disease which are responsible for such an acceptance or awareness of new technologies. To this end, I will develop a questionnaire in cooperation with the research group of Prof. Dr. Josef F. Coughlin (Director of the AgeLab, MIT Cambridge) that examines and sums up the situation of the caregivers. This study will be conducted in Germany as well as in the USA. Moreover, with the help of focus group interviews, I will explore what actions are needed to increase both acceptance and awareness of new technologies. 


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
One Amherst Street, Room E40-279
Muckley Building
Cambridge, MA 02142

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1989 - 1994 Studies of political and social economy at the University of Freiburg, Germany, graduated with distinction
1995 - 1997 Employments as a Management Trainee for the Allianz AG in Konstanz respectively Stuttgart and for the Federal Employment Office in Konstanz
1998 - 2005 Parental Leave
2005 Project Manager for NEPCO, an e-commerce company in Waltham, USA
2005 - 2006 Research Associate at the AgeLab, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Cambridge, USA
since 2006 Independent Consultant and Research Associate for the AgeLab, MIT in Cambridge, USA
since 5/2010 Member of the NAR Kolleg, University of Heidelberg












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Latest Revision: 2021-09-20