Technology for Dementia

Our partners at Autumna, look at six innovations to help better dementia care.

There are many different types of technology available to help support those with dementia maintain a quality of life after diagnosis.

With Covid creating more carers than ever before, family carers are also likely to benefit from tools that relieve the strain of caring. Below are six innovations that may prove helpful for you and your loved ones and are worth keeping an eye on as they continue to evolve:

  1. Dementia-Friendly Mobile Phones

Mobile phones have brought incredible access to information and opportunities since their invention, but they can also be a cause for confusion amongst some elderly people and can even cause rifts within some families.

Older adults who have spent most of their lives without a mobile phone may resist younger family members’ attempts to set them up with a smartphone. Thanks to technology for dementia developments over the last years, there are now plenty of options for easy-use phones.

Features that are likely to benefit older adults with memory issues, limited dexterity, and/or poor vision include:

  • Big buttons
  • Large screen
  • Long battery life 
  • Talking keys 
  • Emergency call button
  • GPS tracking 

 

Learning how to use new gadgets can be a significant challenge for people with dementia, so when in doubt, the more basic and straightforward a phone is to use, the better. 

2. Medication Management for Dementia

Both family carers and patients have long-bemoaned the complicated issues of medication management for those with dementia.

Missed medication can clearly pose a health risk, but for people with memory impairments, remembering to take medication on time and at the correct dose can be a real challenge and significant source of stress for family members.

Whether a person needs to take dementia-specific medication or other prescriptions, there are now solutions at hand.

These range from basic dosette boxes (with written prompts for each day of the week) to automatic pill dispensers which are particularly helpful for people with dementia who live alone. 

They can also be a useful reminder for family carers who are leading busy lives alongside caring duties. Depending on the type of dispenser, it may sound an alarm, vibrate, or flash a light at pre-set times, making medication management a more user-friendly and externally managed experience.

  1. Safety Monitoring Services
    Another excellent example of technology for dementia patients are remote safety monitoring services and support systems. If a vulnerable adult falls or feels ill, they can press their pendant alarm to speak with a trained agent.

    This option could be valuable for someone who lives on their own and doesn't have frequent visits from family, friends, or home carers, but wants to keep their independence. Help from these companies is available 24/7, so providing peace of mind for everyone involved.

     

  2. Dementia Clocks
    Most people need a sense of routine for mental wellbeing and this is no different for older adults. Being confused about the time of day can be anxiety-provoking for people living with dementia.

    Regular clocks can become harder to understand as cognitive impairment progresses, but fortunately, there are now plenty of specially-designed dementia clocks available to make life easier, including easy-read digital display clocks, as well as day and night clocks.

  3. Jelly Drops to Prevent Dehydration
    Whilst not strictly “technology,” this is a great example of innovation in dementia care. 
    Jelly Drops were invented by Lewis Hornby, after his grandmother who was suffering from dementia ended up in hospital from dehydration. After consulting with doctors to develop these unique drops, he designed these sweet treats which also encourage people to stay hydrated.

    Available in six fruity flavours, the drops are 95% water, sugar-free, vegan, and easy-to-chew and  the Alzheimer’s Society supports the drops as a helpful tool for dehydration prevention.

  4. Robot Carers… The Future?

In October 2019, the UK government announced a £34 million support fund to develop “health care robots.” 

Can you expect to see robot carers near you anytime soon? Not just yet… 

There’s still a way to go, with a key priority being to teach the robots how to show empathy, after all, a “human touch” is one of the fundamentals of high-quality care.

But with one in seven people predicted to be over the age of 75 by 2040, and the risk of dementia increasing from age 65 to 80 and beyond, although it may still seem like a strange idea, these care robots are currently being developed to supplement the adult social care sector of our future.

Tasks they may be able to help with include:

  • Assistance following a fall
  • Delivering food
  • Medication reminders
  • Raising the alarm

 

If all goes to plan, the health care robots could become part of mainstream technology for dementia care and support, so watch this space!

Need Help?

Our friendly team at Autumna is here to provide advice if you’re researching options for dementia support. 

Whether you need more information on dementia and technology, or you have a separate question about later life care, you can contact us by phone or email below. If you’re concerned about your memory or have a medical query, we suggest that you contact your GP practice.

Phone: 01892 335 330 Email: info@autumna.co.uk

Further Resources:

September marked World Alzheimer’s Month 2020. If you would like to find out more, you can view this year’s campaign here.