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What is Assistive Technology and How Can it Help Persons with Dementia?

 

What is Assistive Technology and How Can it Help Persons with Dementia?

As much as we hate to think about it, our parents are getting older. OK, we’re getting older, too!  As that happens, we will all become more dependent on a variety of resources to continue to live independently for as long as possible. Besides family members, there are a number of technology-based devices and supports that will support independent living, safety and comfort – these are called assistive technology.

What is assistive technology, anyway?

The term ‘assistive technology’ refers to ‘any device or system that allows an individual to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, or increases the ease and safety with which the task can be performed’ (Royal Commission on Long Term Care, 1999). This includes equipment and devices to help people who have difficulty with things like:

  • speaking;
  • hearing;
  • eyesight;
  • moving around;
  • getting out and about;
  • memory;
  • cognition (thought processes and understanding);
  • daily living activities, such as dressing and preparing meals; and
  • socializing.

Assistive technology ranges from very simple tools, such as touch lamps, to high-tech solutions like satellite navigation systems to help find someone who has gone missing.  There are several benefits to using assistive technology. For example, it can promote independence and autonomy, both for the person with dementia and those around them; help manage potential risks in and around the home; reduce early entry into assisted living homes and hospitals; facilitate memory and recall; and reduce the stress on both caregivers and that of the person with dementia.

Key concerns with persons with dementia are falls and wandering, especially at night. I’ve found that this device – Smart Caregiver Motion Sensor And Pager – has received really good reviews and is a very reasonable price for a so much peace of mind.  Thanks to our friends at Be Independent Homecare in Ireland for this great infographic about assistive technology!

What is Assistive Technology and How Can it Help Persons with Dementia?