For both caregivers and those living with dementia, it can be scary and intimidating. On the other hand, new technology can assist in reducing tension, establishing a routine, and enhancing the quality of life for all parties involved. While there is no cure for dementia, new technology developments are helping to ease the strain of caregiving and make individuals diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s more secure and comfortable.
Assistive technology is any system or device that assists the elderly or disabled in performing activities that they previously performed but must now perform differently. These systems are also known as “adaptive devices.”
A cane stick to make getting around simpler or an amplifier to make any sound better to hear are examples of such technology. In addition, it could include a magnifying glass that allows someone with impaired eyesight to read books or a small motorized scooter that allows someone to go across long distances. In a nutshell, assistive technology is anything that allows the elderly to continue participating in everyday activities.
10 Assistive Technology And Devices
There are a variety of assistive technologies available to aid your senior living with dementia around the home and remain independent for longer, enabling you to relax.
1. Personal Alarms
Help is just a button push away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with these little wearable pendants. Personal alarms, which interact with a central hub located next to your parents’ landline, alert you, a close designated contact, or a monitoring team, allowing you to speak directly with them, figure out what’s wrong, and get the appropriate care fast.
These are very helpful if one has fallen and is not able to get up on their own.
2. Telecare Systems
Telecare monitoring systems, which use sensors around the home to monitor digital activity, frequently incorporate personal alarms. Like sensor burglar or automobile alarms, Telecare monitoring systems only sound the alarm when anything unusual or incorrect is detected. For example, if your parent does not get out of bed in the morning or close the front door, a 24-hour surveillance team (or you through an app) is notified, and a neighbor may be called to check on them.
3. Home Security
A plethora of little gizmos and gadgets may make a living in the house a bit better and safer — and most of them are rather inexpensive! It may not be the “futuristic smart home” that we were promised, but little individual gadgets may help make home a safer place for the elderly and relieve caregivers’ concerns.
Smart locks and doorbells can assist homeowners in increasing the security of their houses while also allowing you to keep a close eye on them and any visitors.
Smart lighting, specialized fire, and smoke alarms, and water overflow sensors contribute to your parents’ home’s safety, allowing them to live freely for longer.
4. GPS Trackers
Like personal alarm clocks, GPS trackers are made to wear on the body and perform precisely what you want them to do. For example, if your parent isn’t answering calls or hasn’t returned home in a while, you may use these fobs and wristbands to find out where they are. GPS trackers are an excellent, low-cost option if you are caring for someone with dementia who is prone to wandering.
5. Communication Aids
In memory care, being connected with people is critical to maintaining one’s quality of life. According to research, even though they can’t remember faces or names, people living with dementia may recall how an incident made them feel. In addition, thanks to technological advancements, staying in touch with loved ones has never been easier.
There are assistive device options for potential communication issues that a senior could have. Adaptable mobile phones can help seniors stay in touch with friends and family, minimizing loneliness and isolation, which are too frequent among the elderly. Speech generating devices can assist people with speech impairments.
6. Memory Aids
For many people, forgetfulness is a natural aspect of aging and is not always a clinical manifestation of dementia. The good news is that several sorts of assistive technology are available to help remind your loved ones to remember their possessions, feed the pets, or take medicine. Memo prompts, automatic pill dispensers, and a variety of other technologies can all assist in alleviating the burden of trying to remember everything in everyday life.
7. Screen Readers And Visual Aids
Seniors should not be prevented from enjoying some of today’s great technology, such as computers and cellphones, because of their low vision. Blind or visually challenged people can utilize assistive technology to navigate these devices.
Screen Readers read aloud what is on the screen of laptops, smartphones, and tablets, allowing the visually handicapped to move about the device, pick subsequent actions, and connect to the internet. Most devices now have screen reader choices incorporated within the accessibility controls, but alternative downloaded options may work better for you.
8. In-home Cameras
In-home cameras are yet another amazing option to monitor your loved one’s safety from afar. Keeping a camera fixed on medicine or in the main room might give you peace of mind that your loved one is taking meds and is active. Some devices allow you to communicate with your loved one while also monitoring movement and notifying you when no movement is detected for an extended time.
9. Voice Reminders
Voice reminder devices enable caregivers to personalize reminders for their loved ones. Certain voice-controlled technology enables caregivers to program the reminder(s) to play at a specified time, while others function through a motion sensor.
Devices that detect motion can be useful for persons susceptible to wandering since caregivers could pre-record a speech that cautions a loved one not to go out at night as they approach the door.
A compact digital recorder, such as a note pen or one that can be worn around the neck, may be useful for people living with dementia who just have slight memory difficulties. People can use this sort of technology to record messages for themselves and then hear them later.
10. Automatic Pill Dispenser
When it’s time for medicine, multiple automatic pill dispensers may be readily configured to buzz, blink lights, or create a signal to dispense the necessary amount into a dosing cup. In addition, there are dispensers that tape voice prompts, so you can be the one telling exactly what is being administered and why further relieving the anxiety associated with taking medicine.
As dementia progresses, more costly pill dispensers that caretakers can monitor remotely may become essential. If a medication is missed, they will even warn caregivers.
Need for Assistive Devices For Loved One
Assistive technology’s function and how it might be utilized to help someone with dementia differs widely. Assistive technology includes anything from basic stand-alone gadgets to complicated, integrated systems that enable a person to stay as independent as possible.
Everyday life, monitoring, safety, communication, and prompts and reminders are just a few of the aspects where assistive technology may aid.
Assistive technology for people living with dementia is largely intended to enhance security and safety while reducing the amount of intrusion into their daily lives. For example, in a care home environment, motion sensor technology may be used to discreetly inform staff when residents at increased risk of falling transition away from their bed or chair, reducing the chance of falls and injuries. In addition, safeguarding technology can be used in a person’s house to shield against floods, fire, burglars, ensure safe usage of household appliances, and contact assistance in an emergency.
When a person living with dementia is prone to wandering and confusion, assistive technology like virtual door and exit monitors can be used to inform members of the family, loved ones, and caregivers. In contrast, GPS tracking devices can safely monitor the person’s exact position within meters.
3. Day To Day Living
Assistive technology could also be used to help people with their everyday tasks. For example, devices such as automatic safety irons, one-touch radios, automated ovens, washing machines, automatic window blinds, and temperature sensors can be utilized to help a person living with dementia with their everyday routines.
Remote monitoring of a person’s daily health state, such as sugar levels, blood pressure, and heart rate, is also possible using point-of-care technology. This information may be sent automatically to the relevant health expert, who can evaluate vitals and make necessary treatment decisions.
Rather than providing 24/7, one-on-one monitoring, assistive technology that streamlines communication allows caretakers to remain on hand and help when needed. Video conferencing, for example, is now being utilized to enhance contact with health experts and providers, which is especially crucial in cases when an older person lives a long distance from a health center.
In this setting, assistive technology has the ability to decrease caregiver stress and support their efforts to provide care in a way that promotes the resident’s or service user’s freedom.
5. Prompts and Reminders
Personalized solutions that can improve morale, health, and well-being are included in the scope of assistive technology. For example, automatic medicine reminders and dispensers can assist people living with dementia keep track of their medications. At the same time, orientation clocks can aid with ambiguity about what is the time or day of the week, and locator devices can help find misplaced items.
Systems and devices that help people retain or enhance their freedom, safety, and well-being are referred to as assistive technology. Some are specifically developed to compensate for the loss of cognitive and physical functions that come with dementia.
It is critical to understand that assistive technology is not really about technology. It is instead about improving a person’s quality of life via better outcomes in protection, living conditions, social contact, and increased independence.