Article written by: Holly Clark

Photo from Shutterstock.com

Photo from Shutterstock.com

Dementia is among those diseases or rather brain function impairments that have no particular cure. This means that the patients of dementia have to live with the symptoms of this disorder for the rest of their life. Most cases of dementia are, however reported in the elderly.

With dementia, a patient cannot take care of themselves as they used to be before the signs and symptoms were detected. They tend to forget or have a poor judgement of things. This means that they need a caregiver to help them sail through dementia.

Even with the help of a caregiver, there are always cases of missed medication, lost patients, accidents or overburdening of the caregiver; however, this is soon going to be a thing of the past with the technological innovations being carried out. Below are 5 technological innovations for those with dementia;

 

1. GPS Location & Tracking

A GPS tracker is among the innovations to help the caregiver and the patient. When a patient wears a GPS tracker, they can be easily located if they missed their way back to the house. Moreover, the caregiver is able to monitor the movements of the patient around the house and alert them if the patient wanders outside the premises.

 

2. Picture phones

Communicating is always an issue for those with dementia. This means that they are unable to call in for help in case of an emergency. Technology has come up with picture phones that come with large buttons on which pictures of their closest relatives or caregiver are placed so that the patient can easily call for help by relating to the patient via image rather than by names in the phonebook.

 

3. Reminder messages

Reminder messages are another innovation that will go a long way to help those with dementia. The caregiver records reminder messages and put in timer gadgets that alerts them when it's time to do a particular thing. For instance, the reminder can play out at the time the patient is supposed to be taking their medications. It can also remind them to lock the door when they are leaving the house.

 

4. Home care robots

Caregivers are normally overworked. Now, to make their work easier, scientists are coming up with home care robots that will help out caregivers with some house chores, remind patients to take their medications and also call for medical assistance if the dementia patient is unwell. The robot also acts as a home monitor when the caregiver is away.

 

5. In-home cameras

In-home cameras are another vital gadget. They help the caregiver to monitor the movement of the patient at home. This allows them to check if the patient is doing all assigned tasks, such as taking medication. Moreover, some in-home cameras allow communication whereby the caregiver can talk to the patient and remind them of anything they might have forgotten.

 Jane Byrne, a project coordinator from a nursing home in Bray,  points out that dementia is now affecting a lot of elderly people. Therefore, it is imperative that we find ways to help patients live their life as normally and comfortably as possible.

Dementia might be hard to deal with medically, but technology has definitely helped caregivers offer their services easily.

Posted
AuthorJane Rohde

BY LOGAN MAHAN

Ever wonder why clothes and products for senior citizens are incredibly ugly and boorish? It’s because no one has ever asked older consumers for their input — until recently.

Meet the Longevity Explorers, a test group of men and women ranging from ages 60-90 who have been helping designers design for older people since 2014. It’s all part of Richard Caro’s experiment to improve the way technology is developed for senior citizens — something he wishes more companies and entrepreneurs would start doing.

Especially since many products older people use have effects on their health, as MIT Technology Review reports. “Presented with products that are ‘brown, beige, and boring,’ many older people will forgo convenience for dignity.” Ken Smith, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, says a huge mistake designers make is assuming that after the age of 60, people care less about design — which can have severe consequences for products that are supposed to help people with their health.

There’s also the perception that older people can’t or don’t want to learn about new technologies. Elizabeth Zelinski, a specialist in neuroscience and cognition, says aging causes changes in the part of the brain associated with new learning, slowing down the process of obtaining information normally. Simply, people just need more time to learn. “A lot of the technology that older people are interested in has to be something that they find easy to use, that’s affordable and compelling,” she says,

But that isn’t always the case, as many older consumers take issue with clunky walkers and ugly canes, along with other unsatisfactory products they’re forced to use. Which is how the Longevity Explorers came about. Caro had finally dealt with a problem that had been bothering him for years — that existing products for older people were “ugly and stigmatizing,” and there seemed to be a missed opportunity there. After interviewing people in their 60s, 70s and 80s, Caro found that many people missed feeling useful.

“There’s this huge demographic of people who have sort of been put aside and told to go off and play bridge and bingo and not contribute to society,” he says.

So he brought people together to talk about aging and help identify problems technologists should work on, and to provide a resource for product developers to understand their companies’ target audiences. During meetings, members will write down topics they want to tackle (like hearing aids), or even bring in products they like for review and discussion. And the idea proved to be successful. There are now eight Longevity Explorer “circles:” five in Northern California and one each in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, with about 500 members in total.

And while companies as Caro says, are realizing that their assumptions about older adults were “completely wrong,” the groups are also helping their members foster a sense of community, which is, for some explorers, its major draw.

“It’s just nice to know there’s a room full of people who also get stuck,” said one member Lynn Davis, a 71-year-old retired project coordinator. For her, Longevity Explorers isn’t just about helping companies make better products, it’s about receiving advice and commiserating with her peers about the magical process of again along the way.

Posted
AuthorJane Rohde