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Using Technology to Support Memory Care

Technology quickly transformed daily life and is now essential in many households. From smartphones to alarm systems, these tools simplify tasks and can even help those who are battling Alzheimer’s. As the disease advances, symptoms will worsen over time. Routine activities become increasingly more challenging and the tactics you used to help your loved one may need to expand and evolve. Assistive technology helps ease the difficulties of chores and more importantly, provides a sense of independence and security to families battling Alzheimer’s disease. Here is a list of high-tech and low-tech gadgets that will relieve the everyday obstacles both you and your loved one face.

tech for alz - couple with tablet

 

Calendar clock 

Losing track of time is a common symptom of early Alzheimer’s.  Digital calendar clocks distinctly showcase a non-abbreviated date and day of the week, and time including either AM or PM. 

Digital photos  

Digital photo frames can help individuals with Alzheimer’s keep track of names and faces. They offer the ability to apply name labels and captions that will fill in the missing pieces. 

Tracking apps 

A GPS tracking device or application can provide peace of mind in knowing that you can locate your loved one should they wander off. Tracking apps are services that can be installed on smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets. Or you can find small discreet trackers that can be worn on clothing or around your neck. Some applications even have an SOS ability if there’s trouble. 

Automatic lights 

You can provide a sense of security for your loved ones by placing night lights or other home lighting units that automatically turn on when they sense motion. Some lights can also be programmed to work through a timer. These are helpful for those who get out of bed during the night and are especially useful in hallways and near staircases. 

 

Only implement the technology that is necessary.

 

Beacon40 

Light therapy is one of the newest techniques for stimulating robust brain activity. Beacon40 light systems deliver pulses of light at 40Hz, which is 40 flashes per second. It’s a completely safe and noninvasive method for rejuvenating healthy brain function. Designed to be easy to use, the lights  work in the background of any home and can be fit around your daily activities such as watching television, reading, or surfing the internet. 

Facebook Portal

Facebook Portal is a tablet that is linked to Facebook Messenger and the “Alexa” voice commands function. Because of its unique camera, Facebook Portal’s main purpose for making video calls to family and friends. It also has other features including calendar, weather, and alarm applications. 

The technology options I’ve listed are not the only choices out there and it is important to do your own research. Additionally, here are a few things to keep in mind before selecting a device that will aid someone with Alzheimer’s.  

1. You and your loved one should feel comfortable with the selected piece of technology. Pick the device that will work best for your current circumstances. Make sure your loved one understands how to use the appliance and go over the instruction manual before assuming they can use it themselves. 

2. Assistive technology must work in favor of the person battling Alzheimer’s and best match their preferences. It is meant to improve daily life for the person battling this disease, so ensure the decision is collective and they are included in the process for as long as possible.

3. Only implement the technology that is necessary. Too many devices can be overwhelming, frustrating, and have negative effects on an individual with Alzheimer’s. Multiple icons and buttons can equally cause confusion. Many settings on assistive tools are customizable. Help your loved one arrange the features in a way that’s the clearest for them. 

 

Written by, Wendy Bronfin on Aug. 5, 2020
Wendy Bronfin

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