Taking Care of a person with Dementia using Technology
Revealed! The best way to care for a person with dementia using technology
When someone very close to you like your mom or dad suffers from conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s it can be quite a debilitating experience.
These long term conditions need that special love and care.
Today’s emerging smart technologies can just prove to be the best assistance they have ever needed. How? We’re going to discuss that.
Here are a few ingenious ways the latest proactive and smart technologies can help dementia and Alzheimer’s elders live a better life. (Psst -We have some bonus non tech aids and suggestions too so read on!)
Location Trackers – Caring for dementia
It can be tricky especially if loved ones have mobility issues or have a tendency to wander.
Location trackers in the form of wearables or stand alone devices like smart speakers can help them navigate better and never feel stranded or lost again. It can even help them retain better cognitive memory of their room or space with consistent voice prompts and alerts. It can help ward off accidental falls and prevent negligence or unmindful minor (even severe) injuries.
Think of preventing those sharp staircase bends or tripping over some misplaced furniture.
Elder Care apps can make caring for a dementia parent a lot easier with its simple smartphone user interfacethat syncs seamlessly with any smart speaker (Alexa or Google Home). With instant caregiver notifications that alerts them with consistent proactive voice prompts helps them navigate and walk around their home a lot safer than before.
Now checking in remotely on your mom and dad is easier than imagined.
FYI DId you know?
Some recent studies show significant yearly healthcare budget savings for families that use remote monitoring systems that results in fewer inpatient admissions, less likely long term hospital stay and fewer ER visits.
Now that’s a life saver.
Standalone devices are a standalone piece of equipment like a smart speaker for instance that has automated prompts, med reminders, night/day clocks, locator devices all inbuilt via an app extension, it can be a great choice when caring for loved ones ailing with dementia.
Setting up a safety system
Part of a safety system includes smart automated lights, automated shut-off devices, emergency alerts, fall sensor detectors and location monitoring services.
In-home video monitors
With cameras fixed up in strategic corners like medications cabinets, bathrooms, kitchen and bedrooms can help track dementia elders movements 24×7 with clear continuous feed also featuring nightvision footage that’s stored and available to watch on your smartphone.
Some cameras feature built-in speakers that allow you to even talk to your loved ones like an intercom with auto programming to send alerts if no movement is detected for some time.
In-home surveillance cameras with motion sensors are a great option to look for advanced stage dementia aging parents living at home.
Invest in some simple everyday aids
Not only smart technology but some easy and simple everyday custom needful changes can make life with dementia a lot easier.
For example, buy special eating aids like dinnerware with extended long fork or spoon handles to ensure better gripping and less chances of dropping cutlery or accidental injuries. Food bumpers are special plate guards that snug around the plate edges avoiding spillage and help scooping out food a lot easier.
Look for scooping plates with rounded edges and blunt sides also. Serveware with suction cups attached to the bases are recommended to avoid sliding or movement while eating.
Some quicksaver fixes like bathroom attachments can work a long way. Elevated toilet seats can make sitting up or down a lot easier for dementia sufferers while alleviating some of the common dementia induced toileting problems. Elevated seats are great for aging loved ones and additional steel grab bars attached next to seats is also a good idea.
Sliding transfer seats
These are also to look out for if it’s difficult for loved ones to move in or out of showers or bathtubs. It can help with mobility issues by using a carousel type swiveling chair that rails in and out of the shower at ease. Just sitting on the padded seating attachment slides them into the shower area without the need to cross over the edge or being lifted.
Opt for a soft or three sided toothbrush, advancing dementia can often disrupt dental health and hygiene. Using a children’s toothbrush can be a great option because of the extra soft bristles, but look for the ones with a long extended handle. Some custom three sided brushes are also available that can clean the entire mouth faster, easier and more effectively ensuring better oral hygiene.
Can be a lifesaver if dressing and undressing is a problem. With progressive dementia wearing clothing having button closure or zippers can be an unwanted and avoidable hassle. Special clothing with velcro stick-ons can be a good option to invest in. Other quick suggestions include safety electric razors for quick shaving and using softgel shaving lotions 30 mins prior to help hair removal easier, faster and pain free.
Appliance controlling devices
The ones that can make phone calls or even send out an email are the ones to look out for . While Alexa and Google Assistant can do both customization options might be required to make them work seamlessly.
Dementia care apps like BrioCare makes text to speech transfer a lot faster and helps loved ones get across to their caregivers in no time lost. Simple commands like “Call for help ” can help them connect to loved ones in real time.
Automated pill dispenser
There are several options available that can beep, flash and signal medication times while dispensing the exact dosage or pills at a time. Multiple alarms can be programmed for a day and some even feature recorded voice reminders, so they can be explained exactly what is being dispensed and why which helps in further easing any anxiety that comes with taking meds. However that catch is as dementia advances, a lot more expensive pill dispensers might become necessary for allowing caregivers to monitor remotely. Which feature options to notify caregivers if a dose is skipped.
A common dementia trait is a lost sense of time. Clocks designed to address dementia can help by its plain time displays in large, clear letters and fonts with no abbreviations It can include both the date and time as well as what half of the day it is. Like the clock can actually say “Night,” “Morning,” “Day,” “Afternoon,” etc. This significantly eases anxiety by lessening confusion, and also helps them to maintain a daily routine. Someone with poor sight can have dementia clocks that speak the time information out loud when touched anywhere on the screen.
Talking photo albums
These feature photo albums with recorded voice messages that auto play on pressing a button that explains the pages. It’s a great way to remember nostalgic fun memories , bring up stories and past events to help improve memory functionality for dementia elders. The photo book can include practical information like med management (with accompanying pictures of medicines), along with reminders of things like appointments, prescriptions and instructions for operating appliances like the washing machine or microwave including safety instructions.
Pre programmed home phones set on speed dials can help them reach out to loved ones and caregivers in no time. With no need to remember phone numbers or have them written down, these adaptive phones often feature big tactile buttons that are easy to cognize and manage for dementia sufferers. The only con are that they are usually stationery wired and fixed on a tabletop and not portable.
A more convenient and portable option are the adapted cell phones or flip phones are traditional looking mobile phones featuring big tactile keypads designed for seniors with an amplified voice call function. It can help dementia elders with poor eyesight to stay connected at a touch of a button.
Adaptive smartphones for seniors are available too featuring a simple UI with large text fonts and easy to understand menu options, voice typing and sensor alerts. They also include one touch emergency call function in case of accidents or emergencies.
Aa lot of fun activities and play apps can work wonders for Alzheimer’s care. It can help in brain training and entertainment. With simple formatted free games available like fishing tanks and 3D pottery making can help those with dementia have fun and relax.
Did you know?
After approx 20 minutes of listening to good music, people with Alzheimer’s in a study saw an immediate and measurable increase in overall sense of happiness, improved eye contact, and talkativeness, with a decrease in fatigue.
To check in on random wandering episodes a wearable tracker is recommended which includes GPS, so the wanderer can easily be located and can avoid getting lost. These devices can also be well programmed to alert respective caregivers if a person with dementia goes outside a specified area (“geo-fencing”). It’s small and easily worn on a lanyard or can be clipped to clothes or kept in a pocket.
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), are also called medical grade alert devices.
Many of these devices detect accidental falls, which is particularly common in dementia. It can also allow your loved one to contact emergency services or call 911 with the touch of a button.
Often worn on like a lanyard around the neck, or clipped to a pocket, they often include other additional features, such as GPS tracking. Advanced PERS can also utilize motion sensors to detect movement and alert caregivers of certain potentially hazardous activities like extended usage of the cooking stove or oven. Wrist watches with this system are also available, but they are not the best options for people in the later stages of dementia as it comes with risks of being taken off, lost or misplaced.
All the above listed technologies and dementia friendly tips can help the journey of those special loved ones a lot easier and simpler.
While dementia can be complicated, caring for it doesn’t need to be.