5 Devices That Help People Living With Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease

5 Devices That Help People Living With Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease

5 Technologies That Help People Living Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
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While research has not yet 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. According to a 2019 UN report by 2050, the elderly are expected to number at least 1.5 billion, one sixth of the global population. People suffering from dementia constitute 5% to 8% of the age group older than 60; the percentage jumps to 13.9% of the age group older than 71.  However you consider the numbers, this means that hundreds of millions of people either need assistive technology now or will need it in years to come. The prospect of a loved one succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is frightening and overwhelming. Fortunately, the quality of life of people living with dementia can be improved with the help of assistive technology.  Learn more about these innovations for dementia and how they can help your parents and senior loved ones.

Greater Independence With Medical Alert Systems

Even without the dementia, the body tends to become more fragile and less able to react as the years mount, which is why a quarter of the elderly suffer some kind of fall injury every year.  A medical alert system enables people with dementia to enjoy greater independence, especially if they live on their own. You can install a smartphone app to make it easier to contact emergency services. But nothing beats simplicity. For a person with dementia, the simpler the better. A medical alert system, also referred to as a personal emergency response system, is a medical device that connects individuals in a medical emergency with a live response centre. The system typically consists of three components: a base unit, communication and monitoring capabilities—and a portable ‘help’ button.  The system is designed to alert medical personnel to emergencies that require urgent attention. It can also alert family members and caregivers about an emergency. Once the alert is triggered, a signal is sent to a remote alarm-monitoring system, where the situation is assessed. If an immediate response is required, paramedics will be dispatched or family members will be contacted. It generally consists of a console—the hub base plugged into an electric outlet and telephone line—and a button pendant to which it connects. The user typically wears the pendant on the wrist, neck, or belt, anywhere that it is easily accessible and hard to lose. When he presses the button on the pendant, a signal is relayed to the console, which relays it to the 24/7 call centre. 

The call centre then accesses the emergency contact numbers for the person who pushed the button and makes the necessary calls, starting with people who live closest to the person.  Enjoy peace of mind knowing that you or your loved ones are safe at home. Learn more about choosing a medical alert system

Reduce Medication Mix-Ups

Administering the proper doses of medicine at the proper time is often a problem for young and healthy people, let alone the elderly. Who hasn’t forgetfully skipped his medicine at some point or other?  Drug regimens grow tougher to manage and navigate the more intensive they get. A dispenser can help you keep on track. These devices significantly boost one’s quality of life, which is especially vital in the golden years.  Medicine dispensed safely on a daily basis can allow seniors to live independently much longer. Fortunately, assistive technology is now so sophisticated that we have smart pill dispensers complete with timers and alarms. These pill bottles have a front-displayed LCD screen that keeps track of how long it’s been since the last time the bottle was opened. You can also buy a cheap TimerCap to smartify a standard pill bottle. If a loved one needs to take several medications during the day, each with different instructions, an automated medication dispenser fills the bill. It can serve many functions: as a reminder, alarm, smart unlocker, and instruction giver. Of course, a caretaker would first have to set it up so that a person with Alzheimer’s would need to follow through only if he is in an early stage of the disease. The most mobile and cheapest system of medical management may be a wrist alarm like the eSeasongear VB80 8 wristband, which vibrates when it is time to take the pill. While pill dispensers can help, not all pill dispensers are created equal. So which solution will best fit a user’s (or their caregiver’s) specific set of needs and preferences?  To find the right solution, you need to answer the following questions:
  • What is the state of mind and degree of independence of the person with dementia?
  • How many pills is he taking, and how frequently?
  • What would work best: visual, audio, or tactile cues?
  • Does the system of medical management require internet connectivity so that you can know remotely whether medication is being properly taken?
Automatic pill dispensers offer senior care recipients a high-tech method for managing their pill regimen, reducing dosing mistakes and streamlining the overall process. Learn more about choosing a smart pill dispenser.]

Reduce Confusion With Clocks Designed for Those with Dementia

One of the first symptoms of dementia is that the afflicted person loses track of time, leading to confusion, anxiety, and even belligerence as daily structure evaporates. People suffering from dementia need special clocks designed to deal with this problem. Although there are many to choose from, DayClox tends to dominate the market, especially the DayClox model that color-codes the day, the hour, and the month. Although these screens can be emulated by smartphones for seniors or smart speakers, a standalone device made for this purpose is often simpler and more effective. It helps caregivers to cope with situations in which the individual with dementia refuses to do something. The physical presence of the clock reinforces the established routine.

Electrical Appliance Usage Monitoring

Last June, Texans reported that their thermostats had been remotely adjusted by power companies. This remote monitoring and adjustment illustrates the proliferation of smart home automation technology that can monitor how you use all of your utility services, including electricity, gas, and water. On the same technological principles, a caregiver can easily set up a monitoring system in the home of a person with dementia so that how he uses his appliances is relayed to the caregiver. Obviously, accurate and timely monitoring is ultra-important with respect to appliances like stoves. One need only plug a smart monitor into a wall outlet or power brick, then plug an appliance into the smart monitor, to make sure that the appliance is being used for only reasonable amounts of time and being properly shut off. The Kasa Smart Plug Mini is compatible with the automation ecosystems of both Google and Amazon, and its Wi-Fi capability enables remote monitoring and scheduling of energy usage. The CARU smart sensor is both a communication hub and a device that records and analyzes habits. It automatically alerts caregivers when the care recipient deviates from normal behaviours in a way that may be cause for alarm. These inexpensive devices can help caregivers deal with the problems that inevitably occur during various stages of dementia.

In-Home Cameras Provide Reassurance For All

The use of cameras in private homes is something of a new practice, especially if used inside home as opposed to a security device mounted externally. Privacy concerns aside, these cameras can help not only enhance the safety of a senior if a caregiver is not present, but can provide reassurance for caregivers who may be worried about their loved one. If you are uncomfortable with anything less than access to a direct video feed when you want to check on a person with dementia, you can buy in-home cameras at very affordable prices. Smart in-home cameras can help caregivers remain vigilant. They provide Wi-Fi connectivity so that you can watch the feed on your phone from miles away—and many also facilitate two-way communication. Here’s what to look for in an in-home Wi-Fi camera

Conclusion

Whatever challenges you may encounter when caring for a person with dementia, there’s likely a solution to help you address it. The medical alert systems, devices to manage medications, special clocks, devices to monitor appliance usage, and in-home cameras discussed above are just a small sample of what’s available. But these five kinds of assistive technology are an excellent starting point.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the providers being reviewed. The providers and WirelessWizard assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without any warranties of any kind whatsoever, express or implied.
Under the banner Tech For Seniors, WirelessWizard is pleased to share innovations for older adults—with a focus on deferring as much as possible the time when getting older gets in the way of living life independently. Check out all of tech-for-seniors content here.
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