September 2020 marks the 9th World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge the stigma around dementia.
Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. It is now widely recognised as one of the most significant health crises of the 21st century. Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are the most common types of dementia, responsible for up to 90% of cases of dementia.
Dementia knows no social, economic or geographical boundaries. Although each person will experience dementia in their own way, eventually those affected are unable to care for themselves and need help with all aspects of daily life. There is currently no cure for most types of dementia, but treatments, advice, and support are available.
The effects of dementia can be frightening and overwhelming for those living with it and the people who care for them. Many of the projects funded by the AAL Programme aim to bring innovative products and services to these people in order to help reduce levels of stress and therefore improve quality of life.
Below we have listed five of the main types of technology that can help people living with dementia live more independent and happy lives.
1. Care robots
Human contact will always play an important role in care, but robots may well be essential to stopping caregivers from being overwhelmed in the future as the proportion of older people continues to increase. However, it is important to note that care robots are designed to help, not replace, human caregivers. 2 AAL projects (eWare and ReMIND) offers solution.
2. Dementia-friendly communication tech
One of the most difficult aspects of dementia is also one that is often overlooked – the impact it has on the emotional and personal well-being of the individual living with it and those who care for them. Keeping in touch and communicating with loved ones is a vital part of well-being, and a number of new innovations are aiming to capitalise on this. Sense-Garden and MI-Tale projects deal with this topic.
3. Home monitoring technologies
Monitoring technologies can help formal and informal caregivers keep an eye on their loved ones and ensure that they are safe and looking after themselves.
You can read more about the CARU smart sensors under the link below. This little device helps people stay connected with family, friends and care services through voice and chat, while also providing access to emergency help when needed.
4. Medication management
Keeping up to date with taking the right medication can be a real challenge for those living with dementia, and as such a number of technological solutions have been developed to aid people in this task.
MedGUIDE and MEMENTO project uses different devices and help improve the quality of life for people with early and middle stage dementia.
5. Location tracking
Dementia can have the effect of erasing a person’s memory so that familiar surroundings become unfamiliar, making it difficult for them to adapt to new environments. The disorientation of the disease often leads to wandering, a common and serious concern for many caregivers who worry their loved one may become frightened, lost or apt to walk into a dangerous situation.
The 2PCS project has produced a series of devices that can be worn at home or outside to keep an older person connected with their carer.
Read more here