06 Feb 8 Innovations For Improving Lives of those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s and their Caregivers
The latest figures suggest one in four hospital beds are occupied by people with dementia – and 20 percent of these admissions are due to preventable causes such as falls, dehydration and infections.
Science and technology have still not found a cure for dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, new advancements in technology have brought about tools that can help alleviate the burden on caregivers while keeping those diagnosed safer and more comfortable.
Below are 8 products and innovations that are allowing dementia patients to live safely in their homes while alleviating the burden on caregivers and fostering their effectiveness in care.
1.Clocks: Clocks are very important to Alzheimer’s patients. People faced with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory loss need structure and routine. They often lose the ability to determine what time it is, day or night. Placing large digital clocks around the home is helpful, but there are also specific clocks for dementia patients that go even further. These clocks not only show time, but display the time of day or change colors based on time of day, set medication reminders, etc. Better yet, these digital clocks are also available inexpensively online.
2. Assistive Communication Technology: Helping loved ones stay connected is vital to quality of life for dementia patients, and technology makes it easier and with more options than ever. Simple adapted telephones ensure ease of communication for individuals with memory loss. Examples include large pad buttons with pictures of important and emergency contacts in case a phone number is forgotten. Many of these phones have varying other features that are helpful for those suffering from dementia. Existing (and free) technology like FaceTime and Skype are great tools that can be incorporated immediately in many cases.
3. Advanced pill organizer boxes: Pill organizer boxes are a vital resource for many seniors, and memory loss patients are no exception. Pill boxes with alerts and alarms are a great resource for these patients. Better yet, the alerts are also beneficial for the caregiver trying to keep track of medication reminders throughout the day. The alarms can be set for as many as 6 alerts per day. While there are a variety of options at hand, you can read reviews for some of the best available here.
4. Sensors: Smart sensors are an emerging technology in the fight to keep Alzheimer’s patients safe while giving a leg up to their caregivers. There are a huge variety of options when it comes to sensors, ranging from motion sensing lights that can help prevent falls to talking bathrooms that detect when a bathroom tap has been left on. The category of sensors is broad, but caregivers and loved ones can begin to incorporate sensor technology in a variety of ways, with some of them being quite inexpensive. Emerging technologies in sensors are looking to take things a step further. For example, new technology is being researched that can identify the progression of dementia. Other technologies aim to identify agitation in dementia patients which can lead to effective interventions, making a safer environment for both patients and caregivers alike while alleviating the burden for caregivers.
5. GPS technology: Location tracking devices can be a no-brainer for dementia patients that are susceptible to wandering. They can help caregivers, family members, and emergency personnel aware of the patient’s location at all times. They also interested parties rapidly of any abnormalities, including first responders, making the devices potential lifesavers. Alzheimers.net has a great blog of location tracking options and their capabilities available.
6. In-home cameras: Now becoming an ubiquitous technology, in-home cameras can be a lifeline for checking on loved ones to ensure their comfort and safety in the home. Some camera options can allow you to speak through the device into the home. Others can monitor movements and send alerts when no movement is detected after a period of time. Smart uses of cameras can be focused on where medication is kept and administered to ensure that medication is taken routinely. Other locations can include the main room or high risk areas such as the staircase to monitor activity and safety.
7. Appliance use monitoring: Forgetting to turn things off becomes an issue as someone advances through the stages of Alzheimer’s. Appliance use monitors are a great tool for caregivers to keep track of something like the microwave, coffeemaker, lamps, TV, curling iron, garage door, or CPAP machine. These devices plug into a powerstrip or wall outlet while allowing you to monitor whether your loved one has remembered to turn off the devices. They can be voice controlled and even allow you to turn something off if your loved one forgot. They can even allow you to adjust lights, fans, or thermostats remotely.
8. Smartphone apps: Many applications can now help dementia patients in a variety of ways. The apps can help engage patients and stimulate their minds and brains in an effort to slow the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s. They also, of course, can help foster technology and provide endless opportunities to pass the time. Technology can be challenging for seniors, but especially so for those with dementia. However, large tablets and smartphones can help facilitate the use of technology in fighting the effects of dementia. For a low cost, or none at all, many of these apps can be downloaded and implemented to engage loved ones which also help the caregiver providing support.
As dementia and Alzheimer’s advance, the difficulties grow and combine until perceived dangers and threats lurk everywhere. Home and outdoors become less safe. Confusion worsens. Stress on the caregiver increases and is amplified. Loved ones and family members may feel that assisted living and nursing homes may be the only options. Luckily, with advances and implementations of technology, the ability to keep patients safely and comfortably in the home are more realistic than ever. Chosen Family Home Care can provide compassionate and highly skilled caregivers for your family member living with the devastating effects of dementia, Alzheimer’s or memory loss. Contact us today to receive a free technology analysis and care assessment for your loved one.