The role of technology in our lives is forever changing and dementia care is no different. The strides that assistive tech has made over the last decade has meant that there are now products and digital services available which can provide a real benefit in dementia care. From GPS trackers to help keep your loved one safe, to recorded reminders, or more dedicated tech for kitchens, bathrooms and the like. Assistive tech has an important role to play in dementia care and is one which can support independence.
The beauty of assistive tech is that it can help support a dementia patient to retain their independence and support them to overcome the challenges that the disease presents and remain in their homes for as long as is possible.
With the risk of wandering increasing as dementia progresses and in times of heightened anxiety, many carers are keen to find location devices to help keep a track on their loved one. Products include wrist watch trackers, keyring trackers, trackers that can be attached to coats or sewn into clothes, or insole trackers. Many trackers involved subscriptions to cover the tracking service and products vary from requiring a sim, or gps tracking technology which links to mobile app tech.
Electronic devices can help support dementia patients to remember to take medication on time, through automatic pill dispensers, which have numerous programming options to allow them to dispense the correct amount of pills, at the right time each day. There are many automatic pill dispensers available to buy, to help mitigate the risks with tablets and support independent living.
Automatic switches which will disable electrical devices after a certain amount of time, such as a cooker. Taps which can be preset at temperatures to control hot water flow and the temperature of the water. Then there are other items for the bathroom or kitchen, such as a plug which will automatically drain the sink before it overflows.
There are secure key boxes that can be affixed to a wall, where a key is located should someone need to access a house urgently but doesn’t have the key. The box is opened by a secure code when required.
There are devices that can be included in the home, that leave a recorded reminder, which can alert the dementia patient if they are trying to leave the house at the wrong time of day for example.
This can be used to track movements within the house, to link to an electrical set up to turn a light on for someone when they enter a room, and it helps a family carer to identify what time the patient is getting up, to make sure that care is available at the right times.
Care for your loved one
Of course tech is not a replacement for care and there are security and safety measures that tech cannot manage. So it is not possible to leave a dementia patient to be completely independent and live alone. However the strides tech has made does mean that there are many benefits that can be delivered to both the family carers, as well as the dementia patient themselves.