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Using Technology In Dementia Care in Kansas City

Dementia care is a growing concern for aging seniors who are experiencing memory loss. In this high-tech age of the computer and related devices, it’s no surprise that dementia caregivers would develop ways to use it for the care of their patients. Truly, in this day and age, there’s an application for just about everything, and that includes devices designed to help people with memory issues as well as their caregivers. Some of these devices don’t actually help but many of them do, and can literally be a lifesaver at times.

Dementia causes loss of thinking, memory, and reasoning skills, seriously impacting the ability of someone to carry out daily activities. The use of technology provides more possibilities by maximizing independence, improving quality of life, reducing neuropsychiatric symptoms, and reducing caregiver burden.

James Hendrix, director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association, states “There are hundreds of products and computer apps being marketed to help people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”

While not all devices currently being marketed live up to expectations, there are many available that can and do help maximize independence and function for senior adults who require dementia care. Everyday technologies can be extremely helpful, according to Steve Ewell, executive director of the Consumer Technology Association Foundation. For example, voice-activated assistant technology can help reduce feelings of social isolation and boredom. Some examples of dementia care devices that are currently available are: 

Calendar apps
Use of calendar apps can be helpful to generate automated reminders and can be used for keeping track of medication schedules, doctor appointments or when test results are due.

Video calling
A great resource for family members to use for checking in on a loved one who is being cared for at a distance. SkypeFaceTime or Google Hangouts are apps that can provide a way for loved ones to see a familiar face and hear a loved one’s voice.

Voice-activated assistants
These devices can be programmed to provide reminders, play music and listen to audiobooks, play games and more – they can turn on lights and control the thermostat. Caregivers can program these devices to help reduce feelings of social isolation and boredom and provide a sense of control and comfort for the person receiving dementia care.

Telehealth Technology
Telehealth technologies have numerous applications in the home or care facility and have been shown to relieve stress for both care recipient and caregiver. Some telehealth technology includes exit-sensors, enuresis sensors, flood detectors, CO detectors, extreme temperature detectors, bed occupancy sensors, and medication reminders.

Safety
Designed to protect the dementia care patient, technology for safety provides ongoing surveillance, prevents injuries, and prevents unintended exits from the home. Some examples of safety devices include medication organizers, wearable ID program devices, location technology, bed occupancy sensors, door security bars, touchpad key locks, and window sensors.

Behavioral Management
Recent studies have provided evidence of the benefits of non-pharmacological treatments in managing agitation and other difficult behaviors. Treatments such as a vibrating tube, music, a fiber optic string light, a solar effects projector, an aroma diffuser, and a plasma ball, have been shown to be instrumental in improving attention span, restlessness, wandering and impulsiveness. The multi-sensory technology is useful for reducing anxiety and agitation among dementia care recipients.

Exercise Motivation
Wearable devices such as Fitbit can help keep track of one’s mobility to help keep the mind and body healthier. Keeping track of the number of steps taken can help a dementia care recipient who is frail or recovering from illness. Wii games are another source of helping a senior stay active by providing fun, gentle exercise that is also entertaining.

Medication Reminders
There are apps available for smartphones that can be programmed to sound an alarm to remind someone to take their medications. There are other applications that show an image of all the pills a person should take each time. Some will synchronize prescriptions and supplements with the physician and the pharmacy and keeps track of when refills are due, contacting the physician before prescriptions run out.

“Loneliness, social isolation, and cognitive decline are reaching epidemic levels for older adults. We are inspired every day knowing that our companion pets are having a positive impact,” said company CEO Ted Fischer.

Loneliness and isolation are two of the biggest health problems facing seniors today. There are electronic devices for strengthening one’s brain, improving memory, and for staying in touch with friends. Smartphones, tablets, and computers allow seniors to stay connected.

Home Care Assistance Provides Dementia Care
Home Care Assistance, providers of dementia care in Overland Park, Kansas, understand the importance of communicating effectively. There is more to communicating than speaking – body language (i.e. gestures, facial expressions, movement) all contribute to communication. Physical contact is also a significant part of communicating with a person who has difficulty expressing themselves verbally.

Quality Dementia Care
Home Care Assistance approaches dementia care in an innovative, creative, compassionate and committed way in order to provide optimal care. Adapting to technological assistance helps our dementia care recipients and our home health caregivers to provide the very best dementia care available in Overland Park and the Kansas City area.

For more information about our flexible hourly or live-in dementia care plans or to schedule a free in-home consultation, contact us at 913-663-5000 and speak with a Care Manager. To learn more about Dementia Care at Home Care Assistance, visit us online.