7 Technological Innovations for Those With Dementia

Last Updated: January 9, 2019

While time has not brought a cure for dementia, it has brought new technological innovations which can ease the caregiving burden and help keep those diagnosed more comfortable and safe.7 Technological Innovations for Those With Dementia

Learn more about these innovations for dementia and how they can help your parents and senior loved ones.

10 Technological Innovations for Caregivers and Those Living With Dementia

Dementia can be frightening and overwhelming — for both caregivers and loved ones living with the disease. However, new technologies can help ease anxiety, establish routine and improve the quality of life for everyone involved.

This kind of “assistive technology” can promote autonomy and independence, manage potential safety risks around the home and reduce stress.

Here is a list of the top technological innovations for caregivers and those living with dementia today:

1. Clocks.

Clocks specifically designed for those with dementia can help ease anxiety associated with a diagnosis. Someone who has dementia may confuse day and night 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.

2. Communication aids.

Staying connected with others is essential to the quality of life in memory care. Research shows that people with dementia can recall how an event has made them feel, even if they are no longer able to remember faces and names. Technology has made staying in contact with loved ones easier than ever. Adapted telephones can be preprogrammed with frequently dialed numbers and often have large buttons making them easier to use. Video chat services like FaceTime and Skype are another great way to stay in touch with loved ones who are geographically distant. As dementia progresses and communication becomes difficult, Talking Mats is a popular app that allows people to communicate feelings by selecting pictures and symbols.

3. Electrical appliance 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 power strip or wall outlet 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 a dementia diagnosis easy. The disease is still devastating. But, with new technologies being developed, dementia is more manageable than ever before.

4. GPS location and tracking devices.

Location tracking devices are a great option for those who have dementia and may wander. Tracking devices can be worn 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 safe and speedy recovery.

5. Home care robots.

As technology continues to progress, researchers are looking into home care robots to help relieve the caregiver burden. Designed to help, and not replace, human caregivers, home care robots can do general housework and help remind people to take medication or alert medical professionals if assistance is needed. Home care robots are not the standard now, but they may be standard in caregiving in the future.

6. Home monitoring devices.

Home monitoring devices allow lights to be turned on and off, thermostats to be changed and can also allow for a range of safety measures that will send alerts via smartphone. This is a great option for long-distance caregivers wanting to ensure their loved one’s safety on a daily basis.

7. In-home cameras.

In-home cameras are another great way to ensure your loved one’s safety from a distance. Keeping a camera focused on medication, or in the main room, can help you feel confident your loved one is taking medication and is active. Some cameras will allow you to speak to your loved one and will monitor movement, alerting you if no movement has been detected for a set period of time.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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 to close the door, go back to bed and to provide reassurance when the caregiver is not present.

What kind of technological innovations have you found to improve the quality of life for those with dementia? We’d like to hear your tips in the comments below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Julie

    The use of in home cameras have helped in assuring that mom takes her medicines. Mounted under the cabinet and pointing down at the pill box we can remotely monitor if medications were taken and give reminder calls to coax her to do so. Cameras to monitor entrance/exits of the home have been helpful as well to view visitors. And lastly silver dollar sized devices that mount or attach to different key areas in the home to monitor activity like refrigerator door, bathroom door, bedroom door… in order to determine activity in the home and alert if a fall may have occurred.

  • WallHanger

    I found a new web site that has free online reminders. When I’m at work if my wife does not respond to a reminder I get an email. I’m using it with an old tablet and she only has to touch the screen to stop the reminder sound. It is at ALZCOMCOM

  • Marie Flores

    Nice article on assistive technology. There are home care robots that helps seniors in household work, remind about medicines etc

    http://www.belmarrahealth.com/how-technology-can-help-seniors-grow-old-at-home/

  • Alice

    Nice Article indeed. I personally have been using this telephone-based reminder service called Memo24 (www.memo24.net) for a few months now with my mother in law. She is happy with it and my wife and I as well :-). You set your reminders using an online dashboard and then the service is simply making a regular phone call to my mother in law at the right time of the day and plays a message that my wife has previously recorded (also easily done using the online dashboard). Check it out here http://www.memo24.net, it might be useful to some people out there.

    Alice, Texas.

  • DJ

    I wish someone would invent a chadder box like Apple’s Suri that can listen and respond to questions from Alzheimer patients. This will keep them talking and engaging with something that keeps them active.

    • Alex Kesaris

      Great idea. AmaZon Alexa with a Twilio API will do exactly this !

  • Jacqui12

    My students and I are trying to come up with a project how technology devices can help people with dementia any ideas ?

    • rudminda

      I’d love to have a device that would help people remember words. Ideally, it would (1) operate by voice, (2) work instantly after being turned on (since dementia patients can’t navigate menus very well) and (3) help people remember words, either by guessing (a) from the first letter(s), and/or (b) from keywords in the definition. You would say, “Device, find me a word that begins with a-x- and means ‘always true.'” And the device would respond “2 words found: Axiom, and Axiomatic.”

    • Concernedcaregiver

      If the tv can be more be intertwined with medication reminder app, that would be helpful. Or if Amazon Alexa can do medication reminder, that may work too,

  • mike

    To whom it may concern

    My mom has a Alzheimer’s disease. Couple years ago she forgot to turn OFF the stove and fire happens in her house .I had been looking for a any devices to monitor the kitchen appliances remotely , but there were not any in the stores . So I designed REMOTE POWER STATE DETECTOR (patent US 9390600) and now I can via my smart phone monitor the power state of home appliances any time from any location. Now if my mom turns stove ON my smart phone push notification “STOVE IS ON”.This device really helps me control my mom if I am out of her house. Please review some information about this anti fire device.

    Remote power state detector .Patent US 9390600 , Available for sale or licensing.

    A system for remotely indicating a power state (ON-OFF) of a home or business appliances. This product could be used to monitor the operation of a variety of potentially dangerous appliances, such as stove ,space heaters,irons,grills,etc..In such cases, it could potentially prevent fires caused by leaving such appliances unattended .The remote power state detector would be very helpful for people with Alzheimer disease or dementia.This system is easily configurable and flexible tool for smart home security systems and provides a universal and reliable mechanism to control the power state of appliances .The appliances do not need any adjustment.This system helps to prevent house fires, property damage and save electricity.
    Another application of the Remote Power State detector is to expand the range of local ( in house only , like smoke or flood detector) alarm security systems, that do not have a technical ability to inform owners, if they are located outside of the property.

    81% of deaths in the home are fire related.
    * The overwhelming majority of home fires are caused by unattended or forgotten cooking.
    For more information please visit http://www.mysafetykitchen.com.
    Sincerely,
    Mike Sirot. [email protected]
    2165440246
    315 Solon rd Apt 301. Chagrin Falls . OH 44022

  • Suzsnne amos

    I’m all in favour of technology innovations to help long distance carers, however, some of the things listed in your article have issues that limit their usefulness. 1. GPS devices, if they rely on batteries, run out of juice and also get lost.
    2. Devices that remind your loved one to do something at a certain time will only be useful if your loved one is in the right room at the time of the reminder
    3. Overnight ‘telecare/lifeline’ falls sensors and monitoring devices that rely on being plugged into the mains, often get unwittingly unplugged by older generations of people who grew up learning to unplug all domestic appliances overnight.
    4. Pill boxes / dosset boxes require you to teach the person how to use it. We couldnt get our parents to understand it and gave up.
    When designing tech, if it requires the person to learn something new, we’ve found that impossible.
    5. if you speak to a loved one through a monitoring device, will it not make hallucinations worse?

    I guess some of these devices may help in the earlier stages or undiagnosed dementia – but may not help later on, so it’s up to us to pick the right devices for our situation.
    I feel also that there are privacy issues if you install cameras for remote monitoring – but maybe health and safety concerns of distant relies trump privacy concerns of the individual living w dementia?

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