If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, you know about the challenges and choices you face every day. You also know dementia is a condition that progresses over a number of years.
Regardless of where you and your loved one are in your journey, there have been a lot of advancements in how memory care communities care for residents. This blog will discuss some of the recent advancements in memory care technology and show you how they can improve your family member’s quality of life by helping them feel more comfortable, relaxed and engaged.
New innovations, solutions, and possibilities using memory care technology are making it easier for caregivers and assisted living communities to safely give your loved one more freedom and independence. Some of the most helpful options include:
- Stay in touch: FaceTime, Zoom and Skype allow you to have video calls with your loved one. Talking Mats also allows your family member to communicate feelings by selecting pictures and symbols.
- Be on time: Clocks specifically designed for those with dementia can minimize the stress and anxiety for losing track of time. Your loved one may confuse day and night, and an easy-to-read clock can help.
- You are here: People who have dementia are very likely to wander and get lost. A tracking device with an alert system that can be worn will let you know if a loved one has left a certain area. It can also alert emergency personnel to ensure a safe and speedy return home.
- Leave a message: These devices allow you to record a message, set reminders for your loved one, and designate a time for your message to be played back. This is an easy way to set appointment and medication reminders.
- Now in use: You can monitor the use of electrical appliances and be alerted if your loved one hasn’t turned their stove, dishwasher or washing machine on in a while or has forgotten to turn it off.
- Home automation: These devices allow lights to be turned on and off, thermostats to be changed, and feature a range of safety measures that will send alerts to your phone.
- Video monitoring: In-home cameras can help you monitor your family member’s medication, or you can place one in their living room. Some cameras even allow you to talk with your loved one.
- Medication management: This can be as simple as a pillbox marked with days of the week, or as high-tech as automated pill dispensers that beep and open to remind caregivers and those with cognitive impairment to take their medication. Some medication reminders are also as simple as a vibrating alarm on a watch.
- Ever-changing picture frames: Digital picture frames have been around for a while, but newer versions allow you to share and update images whenever you want. There are even some apps that also offer 2-way voice and video communication.
- Now hear this: These special headphones can help those with hearing loss hear better. They also deliver specialized programming that can encourage your loved one to stay more engaged in social events and activities, while helping improve overall health by keeping their mind sharp.
New types of therapy
In addition to new memory care technology, some senior living communities are using new therapies in their dementia care to assist seniors who have memory loss.
- Snoezelen therapy: In many memory care communities, one way to help people with dementia cope with anxiety and agitation is creating a calm environment called a Snoezelen room. It’s designed to provide a soothing setting using creative lighting effects, colors, sounds, aromas, tactile surfaces and more. A resident’s favorite music can also be played.
- Cuddle therapy: Another common technique for helping a person with dementia deal with anxiety and agitation is by encouraging them to focus on a familial/comforting object like a robotic pet or baby doll.These can remind your family member of their own pets or children and grandchildren, and help them feel happy and relaxed.
Weighing your memory care options
If the time comes to choose between in-home care with an aide, caring for your loved one by yourself or transitioning to a memory care community, our memory care checklist can tell you what to look for. You can also start exploring a few communities near you with our Where You Live Matters community finder.