Technology Solutions for Dementia and Alzheimer's Patients
When it comes to technology, many older adults are skeptical about embracing it and uncomfortable learning how to use it. However, once seniors begin to use and integrate technology into their everyday lives, it can have a positive impact.
Recent studies on seniors and technology from the Pew Research Center found that 59% of adults aged 65 and older go online and 77% use a cellphone. According to Pew, once seniors embrace technology, it can become “an integral part of their daily lives.”
So, as technology solutions are becoming great resources to help fight loneliness and maintain mental skills, how can this further help seniors living with dementia and Alzheimer’s?
How Can Technology to Help with Dementia?
According to Dr. Louise Nygard, "Even well-known and very familiar technology can cause problems if you have a dementia disease”. So how can technology help those with dementia if familiar technology can be a hurdle with this disease?
That being said, Dr. Louise Nygard also shared a story about a woman with dementia who used the computer to research her family tree. As this would be difficult, she deemed it meaningful enough to tackle herself. "This shows that the potential is there and that it's worth exploring the conditions under which technology use actually works."
So, what is a good starting point for help? What technology solutions for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients are out there? Well first, It’s important to focus on technology that can make their lives easier and safer - from easier to read clocks to devices that can help locate them if they get lost is important.
Specific Dementia-Friendly Technology
There are many different smart devices and technological advancements that can help ensure your loved one’s safety:
Smart Watch. There are smart watches that lock to the wrist of the wearer, so it cannot be removed. The watch has a built-in GPS tracking device for Alzheimer’s patients, making it easy to find a loved one who has wandered off.
Digital Clocks. As losing track of time can be an early warning sign of dementia, there are certain digital clocks that are intended to ease any anxiety in those living with Alzheimer’s. For example, there is a Day Clock that shows the day and whether it’s morning, afternoon or night. If your loved one carries a phone around throughout the day, there are also these clock apps available at a smaller price point.
Insert. Like an insole insert that you can buy at a drugstore, the insert is inserted into the shoe and forgotten about. Should your loved one wander, the SmartSole will send both a text message and an email to caregivers to alert them. They can then track their loved one’s exact location thanks to the GPS technology in the insole.
Medication Apps for Smartphones. Apps that provide medication reminders can help prevent mishaps and dangerous injuries. As most seniors have cell phones, this can be a simple solution that may help with reminders for your loved ones based on their comfortability with their phone.
There are many different dementia-specific technological innovations that may suit some better than others. Research what smart devices may work best for your loved one and watch how technology can ease the burden of caregiving.
Further Research and Support
Technology can be valuable in improving one with dementia’s quality of life – as well as reduce stress on their caregivers. Find out which piece of technology works well for your loved one and implement them in their everyday life.
Once these first steps are taken, it’s worth looking into different ways you can be educated or help empower your loved one with dementia. Find out how Right at Home Greater Vancouver’s dementia and Alzheimer’s resources can help improve your communication and help improve the quality of life of your loved one.