Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have affected people across the globe and through the ages. While time has not brought a cure, it has brought new innovations which can ease the caregiving burden and help keep those diagnosed safe and more comfortable.
Learn more about these innovations and how they can help a loved one.
Technology for Caregivers and Those Living with Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s and dementia are overwhelming — for both those living with the disease and their caregivers. However, new technologies can help ease anxiety, establish routine, and improve the quality of life for everyone involved.
This kind of technology is called “assistive technology” and can promote independence and autonomy, manage potential safety risks around the home and reduce stress.
Here is a list of the top tech innovations on the market today for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers:
1. Reminder Messages
Reminders can help keep properties and loved ones safe when the caregiver can’t. These messages are recorded on a device in the home and then played back out loud at the appropriate time. For example, a caregiver may record a message to play that reminds a person to take a medication at the correct time. Some devices can play messages depending on the person’s activity. For example, if a person with dementia leaves their home, a reminder message could tell them to lock the front door. This technology can also remind both caregiver and patient of appointments. Other reminder messages can also let those who have dementia know not to open the door, to go back to bed and to provide reassurance when the caregiver is not present.
Clocks specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia can help ease anxiety associated with a diagnosis. Someone who has dementia may confuse night and day and an easy to read clock can help them distinguish the time. This can also help caregivers who are trying to set a routine by showing their loved one that it actually is the time they say it is.
3. Medication Management
Medication management technology can be as simple as a pillbox marked with days of the week, or as high tech as automated pill dispensers which beep and open to remind caregivers and those with dementia to take their medication. Some medication reminders are also as simple as a vibrating alarm on a watch. This technology serves the busy caregiver well by allowing them to trust the device for a medication reminder.
4. GPS Location and Tracking Devices
Location tracking devices are a great option for those who have Alzheimer’s or dementia and may wander. Tracking devices can be worn or attached to the person in some way and many have alert systems that let a caregiver know if their loved one has left a certain area. This type of technology can also alert emergency personnel to ensure a speedy and safe recovery.
5. Picture Phones
Specifically designed for people who cannot remember phone numbers and may need to contact someone quickly. These phones have large numbers and are pre-programmable with frequently called phone numbers. Some of the phones come with clear buttons where photos can be placed so that the person can just push the button associated with the photos to call their loved one quickly.
6. Electrical Use Monitoring
This new piece of technology is specifically designed for caregivers who do not live with their loved ones. It monitors their use of electrical appliances by plugging into a wall outlet or power strip and will alert caregivers if their commonly used appliances have not been turned on or off.
Technologies like the ones listed above do not make an Alzheimer’s diagnosis easy. The disease is still devastating. But, with new technologies being developed, Alzheimer’s and dementia is more manageable than ever before.
What kind of caregiving technology have you found that improves the quality of life for those with dementia? Share your tips in the comments below.
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