As the world continues to move towards a more technology-based lifestyle, from smartphones to smart-fridges, it may appear that our senior loved ones may get lost in the web of advancements. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
“There are hundreds of products and computer apps being marketed to help people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s, but very few are clinically proven,” says James Hendrix, director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association. Technology can be quite helpful to ease anxiety, establish routines, and improve their quality of life.
There are a number of assistive devices out there that are aimed to provide a sense of independence and manage potential safety risks within the home. This, in turn, can also alleviate the stress and worry by caregivers and family members in ensuring that their senior loved ones are safe and cared for.
There are a variety of clocks on the market, both physical (wall or nightstand clocks) or virtual (Google or iPad apps) that can assist seniors with dementia. These clocks can not only tell time suing analog or digital means, but more importantly to seniors with Dementia, they can display if it is morning or evening time. Differentiating between day and night has been of great concern for seniors with Dementia and their loved ones, as often medication is missed, sleep patterns are off, and sundowning is exhibited due to the confusion. Finding an app such as the Alzheimer’s Dementia Day Clock from Google or purchasing a day/night clock that tells the time and indicates whether it is morning, afternoon, or evening, can really support your loved ones with more autonomy and independence.
Checking in with loved ones has becoming increasingly more important, and yet at times more difficult, as daily lives become busier and distances between loved ones become farther away.
Opportunities to video call with seniors, by using services such as Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime, or Google Hangouts, has made a tremendous and positive impact on the lives of our seniors and ourselves. Not only do they provide a sense of connection by being able to see your familiar face and hear your voice, but you can see their environment and face, which may provide clues to their health and how they are feeling at that moment. This is also a great way to connect with Personal Support Workers, Companions, or other Caregivers that may be caring for your loved one.
Games, Music and More!
Using an iPad or other handheld devices, that are capable of downloading apps and programs to assist those living with dementia, are another way to provide assistance to your loved ones or those in your care. Apps that allow seniors to engage creatively and enhance cognitive thinking – such as Lumosity or WordBrain, or apps that can remind them to take their medications – like Pillboxie, can be very helpful and fun to use! Playing music on a phone or tablet, or finding an app where seniors can play an instrument and create their own music, is a great way to keep their minds focused and may assist in improving their memory.