Technology and support
New technologies can sometimes seem complicated, and perhaps more trouble than they are worth. However there are a range of assistive and more general technologies which may help you to support the person with dementia and take care of yourself.
Your GP or other health and social care professionals may be able to give you advice on which assistive technologies may be useful for you and the person you support, and how to access these. You may also wish to do your own research. Many countries have websites which explain assistive technology or can supply products. For UK learners, the AT dementia website may be a useful place to start.
Assistive technology is a term used to describe a range of devices, systems and equipment to support independence and safety, and through this provide reassurance to those who are supporting the person with dementia.
Some assistive technologies are simple or ‘low tech’, such as clocks which remind you of the day and date, and whether it is day or night. Another example are medication boxes which are pre-filled and come with prompts or automatic dispensers. However more sophisticated ‘high tech’ devices are also available such as sensors which detect movement at night, and talking mats which help people who are no longer able to use speech to communicate with others.
The internet is another technology which people are increasingly able to access. You may already have access or family, friends or health and social care professionals may be able to help you to get online. You may be able to help others to access and navigate internet systems.
The internet may be helpful for finding out information on a range of topics around dementia and changing needs (See Step 3.9 for useful resources and tools). The internet can also be useful for managing everyday tasks, and may make life easier. For example: managing your utility bills; online banking; managing medical appointments and medications (ordering repeat prescriptions); and shopping for groceries, clothes and other essentials.
Technology can also be a helpful way of maintaining social contact. You can keep in touch with people all around the world using systems such as Skype and Face Time, which enable you to have a conversation with others whilst being able to see them at the same time. This may help you and the person you support to stay connected with friends and family if you are no longer able to travel, or have loved ones in distant places. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter may also help you to stay connected with family and friends when meeting up in person can seem difficult to arrange.