It’s clear that managing one’s lifestyle whilst living with dementia is a huge challenge and often the question, “can modern technology help at all?” is often asked by family members. It’s important to give those living with the dementia an enhanced, comfortable day-to-day experience. That’s where assistive technology, both high and low tech, becomes important. Whilst there are no easy answers, we’d like to suggest some fairly easy steps that might help to ease the burden.

  • A number of reminder devices, from voice memo systems to automatic pill dispensers, which can help your loved one to set up a simple and robust method of timing those important reminders are readily available and easy to access.
  • A simple dementia-friendly clock that reminds your loved ones what part of the day it is can be helpful and essential to their everyday life. A simple clock that has audio features that help speak the time is easy to find and will make a world of difference to your loved one. These clocks also show the date in big and bold texts, this helps orientate your loved one to the time.
  • There are a number of ‘passive monitoring systems’ that could help to show if meals are being taken; for example by showing usage of the fridge, kettle or microwave. Whilst this may seem like a futuristic idea, these devices do exist and can be used in more extreme cases.
  • You probably use GPS to navigate unfamiliar territory in your car, but GPS systems aren’t only valuable as a high-tech map. They can also help you find your love one if they’ve wandered off without your knowledge. There are many options for tracking with a GPS, including pendants such as MindMe that are also equipped with an emergency alert button, and shoes with “smart soles that pinpoint location via an app. This is a great device for those living with dementia who are not residing in a care facility.
  • If your loved one is living with both dementia and diabetes it is important to know that we now have connected blood glucose meters that can automatically remind them to take their measurement and send the results to a family member or carer, to keep an eye on levels and frequency.
  • Motion sensor lights are often found in office buildings but by installing them in your home, you will prevent your loved one from getting hurt in the dark.  It’s important to note that for some living with dementia, automatic lights can be alarming, so make sure it isn’t frightening to your loved one before implementing them in your home.

Technology can be used in a variety of ways, and for a variety of purposes. It can support people in carrying out everyday tasks and activities, enhance a person’s safety, support their social participation, and monitor their health. Ultimately, nobody should be forced into using technology they don’t want, and technology should only be used when it’s needed or wanted. Each person’s individual needs should be considered carefully when weighing up the pros and cons of any device.