How do people living with dementia make assistive technology work for them?

Over the past 10 years, a lot of consideration has been given to how technology can be used to help care for people living with dementia.

Voice recognition systems such as the Amazon Echo will never tire of repeated inquiries about the date and time.  This interactive technology can also be used to provide prompts and reminders. There’s even data to suggest it can reduce loneliness.

Other examples of telecare devices include pendant alarms that are equipped with movement or pressure sensors, which can summon help should the patient suffer a fall. Companies like Unforgettable provide a variety of information and products designed to make living with dementia or caring for someone living with dementia more manageable.

Research shows that there is a growing interest in this field. A recent report from the Scottish government, for example, estimates that 1 in 5 residents of Scotland over the age of 75 are currently using telecare services.

However, research has also shown that those who haven’t been properly trained or guided on how to use the devices are at high risk for abandoning them.  The solution, as the Dementia Centre points out, is to adapt the device according to the needs of the user.

These adaptations can be incredibly simple, such as using post-it notes to provide instructions for use or covering certain controls with tape. But it’s not just patients who benefit from using these devices.

Caregivers also have their own set of technical tools available at their disposal. CCTV or webcams, for instance, can be used to monitor patients from afar. These devices can even be synced to smartphones, making daily check-ins fast and convenient.

But knowing how to use these devices has proven to be just as important for caregivers as it is for their patients. Without the proper training, caregivers are likely to miss out on all the benefits that technology has to offer.

To read the full story on the Dementia Centre website.