Due to our aging population, we're seeing more dementia diagnoses than ever before. Dementia is a huge burden, both on the patient and on the relatives, caregivers and healthcare workers supporting them.
A number of companies are addressing this demand by creating tools and apps to help both the people living with dementia and the people responsible for their care. Collectively, these innovations are improving the way caregivers monitor, protect, communicate with, and support patients with dementia.
We'll explore some of the best tools, connected apps, and websites to help everyone manage this disease more easily.
Tools and Devices for Dementia
Project Lifesaver's PAL
Project Lifesaver is a platform designed to help dementia patients, adults, and children who wander. People enrolled in Project Lifesaver can get a Protect and Alert device (PAL) that allows caregivers to set a digital perimeter for the patient. If the wearer goes outside of that perimeter, an email and text message alert will automatically be sent to a caregiver, relative, or loved one. Project Lifesaver also coordinates with local public safety agencies so they can assist in finding anyone who has wandered.
Loon Medical's Bed Sensors
Connecticut's Loon Medical is now the home of CareSentinel, which makes a bed sensor pad that lets families and caregivers monitor a bed's occupancy. The sensor can relay a message to someone's smartphone or tablet when a dementia patient has gotten into or left their bed. The sensor is calibrated, too, so that it won't issue a false alarm when a pet hops in or out of the bed.
Evermind has built a collection of smart monitoring devices that connect to wall sockets and track when an electrical appliance has been turned on, and for how long. This gives families and caregivers peace of mind, even without having to call and check in on someone. They say, "Daily rituals like making coffee in the morning or watching a favorite television show before bedtime serve as a way to check-in, signaling that everything is okay, even when it's not possible to call or drop by."
Singaporean company SoundEye's ARK is a home-monitoring device that lets families monitor loved ones who live alone at home. The ARK can detect emergencies by recognizing the level of alarm in a person's voice, then alert family members and first responders. The device also features an intercom so people can instantly make contact whenever they need to.
UnaliWear Kanega Watch
UnaliWear's Kanega Watch has monitoring and alert features, but also uses artificial intelligence to learn a wearer's specific habits. This lets it identify any behaviors that appear out of the ordinary. It also responds to voice commands the same way an iPhone's Siri app does, which lets wearers make hands-free emergency calls if necessary.
Minnesota's Healthsense offers an entire suite of monitoring devices that give older patients the independence to live at home and still maintain their privacy. "[D]ata collected from the sensors, combined with computer analytics, can detect significant changes in routines that might be a precursor to more serious health issues," reporter Jackie Crosby writes in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Applications and Software for Dementia
RemindMe Care is a platform built around the patient's history and interests. ReMe is designed to help people suffering from dementia to relive their life stories. Known as "Reminiscence Therapy," there's growing evidence it can help to slow down the progression of dementia. This results in better cognitive abilities and an improved sense of wellbeing in the patients.
MindMate is a collection of three apps that together can make a big improvement to a dementia patient's life. The apps are:
- MindMate — Includes games to stimulate the mind, tools to capture a patient's life story, a reminder / to-do section, and a health and mental wellness area.
- MindMate Plus — Lets other users connect to the MindMate app and makes it easy to stay in touch using messaging, video, and audio.
- MindMate Pro — Designed for healthcare providers, MindMate Pro allows multiple profiles to be created, lets all users access the app on the same tablet, and reduces admin and costs.
Website Resources for Dementia
Memory Apps for Dementia
Memory Apps for Dementia is a website gathering together and recommending some of the best creativity apps to help patients with the condition. These apps are designed to mentally stimulate dementia sufferers by giving them access to music and art software that is easy to use.
Arts4Dementia is another useful website bringing together resources and apps for care providers and patients. Their selection of apps includes memory aids, reminiscence therapy, monitoring, and reminders.
We have hope that these amazing tools and apps will help manage Dementia for our current and future population.
Tags: Health Innovation, Providers