How Technology Will Change the Future for Alzheimer’s Patients

Technology can help us see, hear and communicate better. Applying innovations in technology to the specific needs of Alzheimer’s patients, scientists are giving many seniors a safer and more independent life. How Technology Will Change the Future for Alzheimer's Patients

Remembering names, losing keys and even finding their way home; seniors with Alzheimer’s face enormous challenges in dealing with what were once everyday tasks. But, the latest technological tools, from smartphone apps to satellite navigation systems, are changing the future for Alzheimer’s patients. Consider these most recent innovations.

Power Sleeping Through Alzheimer’s Research

We use our smartphones to text, tweet, Google, and occasionally, make a call. The power those phones hold has recently taken a giant leap in the world of Alzheimer’s research. Scientists at the University of Vienna have developed an Android app called Power Sleep, which serves as an alarm clock. Unlike other clock apps, however, Power Sleep, available from the Google Play store, harnesses the power of a phone while it charges.

Here’s how it works:

  • Set the alarm.
  • Plug the phone into its charger.
  • Make sure it is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  • After the phone reaches an 80% charge, Power Sleep starts to process data.

The phone downloads a file (approximately 1MB) from the Similarity Matrix of Proteins (SIMAP) database, which houses information about all known protein sequences. While the phone charges, the database borrows some of its power, along with power from other phones that have Power Sleep installed, to decrypt protein sequences and send that information back to researchers.

Understanding how proteins are arranged is crucial to fighting Alzheimer’s. So with a simple app download, people can contribute to Alzheimer’s research in their sleep.

Recognizing Faces Through Google Glass

Handsfree technology is also making great strides to fight Alzheimer’s disease. Take Google Glass, for instance. Glass takes pictures, gives directions, translates languages and much more, all with a simple command, as you wear it like a pair of glasses.

Through its Google GPS system, Glass shows extraordinary promise as a tool for seniors with Alzheimer’s. Prompting them with reminders on where they want to go and how to get there, Glass supports memory function. Seniors can keep up with daily walks, trips to the grocery store and other ventures that help them feel more independent and in control. Additionally, Google Glass provides facial recognition features that connect faces with names and relationships. So, seniors who wear Glass would have immediate cues as to who is standing in front of them. What’s more, relatives and caregivers can use features of Glass to monitor a senior’s location.

Other Technologies for Seniors With Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Society describes several other assistive technologies that facilitate memory, reduce risks and promote autonomy for seniors with Alzheimer’s. Here are just a few of these tools:

  • Calendar clocks
  • Touch lamps
  • Reminder messages that use personal voice prompts
  • Locator devices
  • Medication aids
  • Remote in-home monitoring systems
  • Tracking devices

Finding the Right Technology for Your Loved One

Each technological tool has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some are more expensive than others, and some might even cause confusion for the senior. Finding the right tool to meet your loved one’s needs can take time, as well as some trial and error. In the end, you may find that even the simplest tool can make a world of difference to the quality of life for your loved one.

What technological tools have you found most useful for seniors with Alzheimer’s? Please share your insights below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Robert

    How about a simple and free phone app to help caregivers know where patients are at all times? One that doesn’t require the patient to understand how to use a smart phone? That’s what I need for my father who’s in the late stages and it amazes me that this isn’t already available, when it should have been first on the list. When do we begin putting the patient first?

    • lazycrazyjen

      There is a kid who just received a grant for small gps trackers sewn into socks.
      They come with alarms and such.
      I can’t wait to throw my money at him.

      • Bill BBates

        That komodo company just announced GPS tracking belt…. Very interesting….

    • Elvis

      There is a device like that. I always worried about my one grandmother who has Alzheimer’s so I began to develop a device that lets you see location at all times. And you can set to send notifications to your phone. I’m still working on the app but the device is fully functional and you can view all information on the mapping platform on my website. http://www.komodotec.com

      • Kelly Turner

        I saw your website and am interested in the AIO Sleeve. Is this product FDA compliant since it measures blood ox? Either answer to this question is a good answer. I work for a company that is trying to integrate new sensors into our line. Please contact me at my personal email. At this point, and in this thread I do not want to disclose our company name. Thank you. kellyturner0742@yahoo.com

  • Shannamarie Vaughan

    Does anyone know about this being covered by insurance?

  • Guy Bisscops

    What we are doing is to treat Alzheimer with wearables and machine learning. We try to optimalise the Circadian Rhythm (biological clock) based on tracking data from different parameters. What we do is about the same what pharma companies are doing with drugs but we use all kind of data and we use these data to persolanised the Circadian Rhythm. SCN in the hypothalamus is the regulator of all kind of neurotransmitters. Patent pending

  • Rachel

    Canada is considering injecting criminals with a gps tracking system. I’d like to do the same for my dog. Seems like a viable option for my father who has dementia and alzheimers. How long would this take to develop?

  • Ranjan

    I came across rugged, living waterproof SmartKavach (Watch) with 10+ features for elderly (even when fall unconscious) and ambulance paramedics from http://www.easym2m.in that one can look at as great option.

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