Freelance writer Ella Hendrix shares some of the diverse innovations available for people living with Dementia.
Technology Innovations To Aid Dementia Care
While time has not yet brought a cure for dementia, it has brought new technological innovations which can ease the caregiving burden and help keep those diagnosed more comfortable and safe. Dementia can be frightening and stressful – for both the person diagnosed with the disease and their family. Care providers, Helping Hands (this link will take you away from our website) explain that someone living with a dementia diagnosis will have “difficulty with completing aspects of their day-to-day routine – and not be able to recall what they need from the shops; they will get a bit confused about where to put their dirty dishes or may feel too anxious to prepare their meals.” But, new advancements can help ease anxiety, promote independence, manage potential safety risks, and improve the quality of life for everyone involved. Here are some of the top technological innovations for those living with dementia today:
With the increased use of smartphones, ‘apps’ with a variety of features have been developed to assist people with dementia. Experts at PreScouter (this link will take you away from our website) explain how “apps that provide verbal or visual reminders help dementia patients take their medications as advised by their doctor. Some apps, for instance MedCoach Medication Reminder, can be connected to the pharmacy to refill prescriptions. BrainAid is an app that provides reminder alerts and checks in at the end of each task.” For those with dementia living independently, reminders are an important tool to ensure that they carry out various tasks which form part of their daily routine. Routines help the person with dementia know what to expect, which reduces anxiety and allows them to continue to do things by themselves.
The EDDN (this link will take you away from our website) advise that developing communication difficulties is a common occurrence with dementia. This can be frustrating and stressful for the person diagnosed with dementia, as well as their family and care partners. Staying connected with others is essential to the quality of life and technology has made staying in contact with friends and family easier than ever. Video chat services like Skype and Facetime are a great way to stay in touch with those who are further away. Adapted telephones can also be preprogrammed with frequently dialed numbers and made with larger number to make them easier to use. As dementia progresses and communication becomes more difficult, apps like Talking Mats can be used which allow people to communicate by selecting symbols and pictures.
Clocks and Calendars
There are lots of products available to help people with dementia keep track of the day and time. Alzheimer’s Society (this link will take you away from our website) advise that “automatic calendar clocks can be helpful for people who lose track of which day it is. Many show both the date and day of the week. Some clocks also show clearly whether it’s morning or evening. These can help prevent people getting confused about the time, particularly in the light summer evenings.” These aids help people with dementia stick to their daily routines and live independently, while reducing anxiety associated with a diagnosis.
GPS Location and Tracking Devices
Dementia erases a person’s memory, which can lead to disorientation and wandering. This is a common and serious concern for many care partners who worry that the person they’re caring for may become lost, frightened, or find themselves in a dangerous situation. Location tracking devices are a great solution to address wandering and help keep someone with dementia safe and secure. Tracking devices can be attached to their clothing or worn as a bracelet, and can usually only be removed by the care partner. This technology provides care partners with a comprehensive view of their activities, locations, and routes, and sends an instant alert if they’re in an unfamiliar place. This type of technology can also alert emergency personnel to ensure a quick and safe recovery.
In-home cameras are another great way to ensure of someone’s safety from afar, which is especially useful if you don’t live with them. Keeping a camera focused on medication, or in the main room, can help you feel confident that they’re being active and taking medication. Some cameras even have two-way audio, which allow you to listen and speak to one another. In-home cameras can also monitor movement, alerting you if no movement has been detected for a set period of time.
With the help of technology, people diagnosed with dementia can live independently or with care partners at home for a longer time, instead of nursing homes. These innovations and advancements in technology help patients feel more in control of their lives, and allow those affected by dementia to remain living independently, safely, and more comfortably.