Dementia and Assistive Technology

Dementia and Assistive Technology

By: admin | No Comment | Blog, NDIS

Dementia causes memory problems that make it increasingly difficult to carry out everyday activities, for example cooking, remembering appointments, taking medication. The memory problems experienced can have a large negative impact on people with dementia, and may cause confusion, anxiety, embarrassment, or depression. This decreasing ability to carry out daily activities can cause stress to family carers who worry about the person’s safety and well-being.

A range of electronic devices — most commonly referred to as Assistive Technology have been developed to support people with dementia. Assistive technology is a broad term used to describe any item, object, device or system that enables a person to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, or increase the ease and safety by which certain tasks can be performed.

Put simply, assistive technology is any aid that can assist the most frail and vulnerable members of our society to live safely and live well at home or in a residential care environment.

The role of assistive technology and how it can be used to support someone living with dementia varies greatly. Some of the areas where assistive technology may help include everyday living, monitoring, safety and communication.

Assistive technology for people with dementia is primarily designed to support security and safety, while providing a less intrusive living environment.

In instances where a person with dementia is prone to wandering and disorientation, assistive technology such as virtual door and exit sensors that detect entry and exit can be implemented to alert family members, loved ones and carers, while GPS tracking devices can securely monitor the person’s exact location to within metres.

Assistive technology that simplifies communication enables carers to be on-hand and assist when necessary, instead of providing round-the-clock, one-on-one supervision. In this context, assistive technology has the potential to relieve the pressure on caregivers and support their efforts in delivering care in a way that supports the independence of the resident or consumer.

It’s important to note that assistive technology is not about the technology. Instead, it is about enhancing a person’s quality of life through improved outcomes in safeguarding, living standards, social interaction and greater independence.

According to the Victorian Government’s Dementia-Friendly Environments guide, the key benefits of assistive technology include:

  • allowing people with dementia make more decisions for themselves
  • offering safer and more secure living
  • giving people more privacy and dignity
  • reassuring family members about the level and quality of care
  • efficiency and cost effectiveness

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