Living with dementia and caring for someone with dementia are both challenging situations. Vineyard Bluffton shares three ways to use technology tools to make everyday life easier and better for seniors with dementia and their caregivers.
Many commonly available technology innovations can be used to make life safer, easier, and more enjoyable for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia and the families who care for them.
Below, we share three ways that technology can help people with all types of dementia – and their caregivers – find more ease in everyday life.
1. Helping with memory and concentration
Memory loss is one of the most common symptoms of dementia.
Memory technology helps take the pressure off caregivers to keep reminding someone about important tasks.
It also gives the person with dementia a sense of autonomy. Constant reminders from a machine rather than a person can seem less annoying or patronizing.
From setting reminders on devices to helpful online games, these tech tools support someone with memory issues:
Today’s mobile phones include customizable alarm clocks. Set multiple alarms to remind an older adult of different things.
For example, “doctor’s appointment at 10 AM” or “take your pills” alarms set at 9am and 8pm.
Some mobile phones, like the RAZ Memory Cell Phone, are specifically designed to be easy for someone with dementia to use and can be used for much longer into the disease.
These specialty phones allow someone with dementia to be more independent and stay connected for longer.
A motion-activated recordable message player is an innovative tool that plays pre-recorded messages when someone walks by.
The best part? There are infinite options to play these games online.
2. Increasing safety
Losing short-term memory can be dangerous – forgetting to turn off the oven can start a fire and forgetting where you are when driving a car or taking a walk can be disastrous.
These technology products add a safety net that decreases anxiety for both older adults and families. Some great tech to keep seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s safe include:
Timed electrical outlets
A safety electrical outlet turns off automatically after a set period of time. Plug an electrical device into it and eliminate worries about fires or injury.
Car GPS and mobile phone maps
For those who are still able to drive independently, program “Home” into their mobile phone map app and/or car GPS so they’ll always be able to find their way back.
3. Staying connected
Helping older adults stay connected with family and friends lessens widens their circle for social stimulation and interaction.
One study found that using social technology leads to reduced loneliness, fewer chronic illnesses, decreased depression, and improved well-being.
These technologies help seniors with dementia stay connected:
Voice and video call technology
Making phone or video calls are both fantastic ways to stay connected.
Most phones and tablets come with built-in video calling and apps like Zoom and WhatsApp also offer simple ways to connect.
There are also systems that make it easy for someone with dementia who can’t operate technology to participate in video calls – get more info here.
Reminiscence therapy using simple tech
Another way to foster connection is to help someone with dementia reminisce and recall fond memories.
Studies find that recent memories deteriorate first in Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
By sharing past memories through reminiscence therapy, someone with dementia can develop more positive feelings while reducing stress and agitation. Looking back at old memories together can also help you bond and learn more about their lives.
Load their favorite songs, movies, and photos onto a tablet or computer they can easily use so they can listen to music they love, watch their favorite movies, and look through old photos anytime.
Recommended for you:
- Best Way to Make Video Calls to Seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia in Nursing Homes
- Amazon Echo Alexa Helps Seniors with Dementia
- 5 Worst Tech Gifts for Seniors (and What to Give Instead)
Guest contributor: Kaylynn Evans is the executive director of Vineyard Bluffton, an assisted living community in Bluffton, S.C., specializing in care for those suffering with memory loss. Kaylynn has more than twelve years of experience in healthcare, with nearly ten years of specialized experience in dementia care, and is a nationally certified ‘Train the Trainer’ for dementia care.
Image: Love 2 Live Care
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