If you or your loved one do not have the resources to afford full time Alzheimer’s care, it is nice to have alternatives that can be effective in keeping the dementia sufferer in your life safe and happier. Chances are, your loved one enjoys their independence and does not want to have to be monitored all day every day. But the truth is that modern technology has given us quite a few things that are designed to help dementia sufferers. Here are some things that can change the way you care for your loved one.
If you have any experience with dementia sufferers, then you are well aware of the challenges of helping them to keep track of the passage of time. A confused person can spend hours in turmoil because they are unaware of what day it is or the time. Such a simple thing can agitate them and throw off the rest of their day. That’s why keeping a routine is helpful in providing that comfort.
But a clock, a clear, simple, well labeled clock, can help reduce some of the time and day confusion so many dementia patients suffer from. Choosing a clock that has large type and clearly shows the digital time, day of the week, month and year can be very helpful in orienting your loved one. It helps to place it in a conspicuous place that is frequented often.
2. GPS and Tracking Devices
GPS has done more than just help us get from point A to point B. For those who have a loved one who suffers from dementia, GPS can do a lot to provide you with some peace of mind. If you are concerned about your loved one wandering off and being victimized or worse, GPS is a viable option to stay on top of their location.
Outfitting your dementia patient with a tracking device, like a smart watch, will allow you to determine their location when you are unable to be around or if they happen to wander off. There are also devices that you can place on them that cannot be removed. Some of these are placed in shoes, on their clothing or on their body. Tracking jewelry is a stealthy way to get them to cooperate with you in your efforts to know where they are and keep them safe.
3. Home Monitoring Devices
If you are attempting to monitor your loved one from long-distance or you don’t have the ability to be with them all day every day, home monitoring devices are a good idea. These devices limit the amount of easily forgotten routine tasks. Motion sensored lights keep their home more energy efficient if they are prone to leave lights on when they exit a room. Programmable thermostats allow you to schedule the temperature according to the time of day.
There are even apps that can be used on your mobile devices that can remind you of tasks that need to be taken care of. These apps are usually better suited for caregivers and other family members, but depending on the progression of your loved one’s dementia, they may be able to use some of the apps themselves to extend the length of time they are able to live independently.
4. Closed Circuit Cameras
Installing cameras in your loved one’s home can do quite a bit to make you feel better about leaving your senior alone. Many in-home camera systems are wireless and easy to install. Some even come with the ability to monitor the camera feed remotely through a secure web address or mobile device application.
Having the ability to see what is going on with your senior when you can’t physically be there can allow you to call the proper authorities if need be, call your loved one to alert them to a situation, some systems will allow you to speak directly through the camera’s speaker, and more. There’s a lot to be said for having an extra pair of eyes. Some good areas to keep an eye on include the kitchen, entry and exits and stairs.
5. Smartphones and Mobile Devices
Smartphones and mobile devices can do a lot to keep everyone on their toes, both the caregiver and the dementia sufferer. If your loved one has a problem with dialing numbers, being able to attach a face to a number can greatly enhance their ability to communicate. Some brands are made specifically for aging people and have larger numbers and buttons, have a frequently called phone numbers list and other features that are helpful to seniors.
There are devices that you can save pre-recorded messages for your senior that will play at specified times or when certain actions occur. A reminder may play letting them know that they need to make sure they have their keys and to lock the door if they leave the house. Another reminder may play at a certain time of day to remind them to take their medicine or to eat a meal. These can be very helpful in allowing them to live a more independent lifestyle.
6. Electrical Appliance Monitors
When someone with dementia doesn’t want to feel like they need a babysitter and they insist on living independently, electrical appliance monitors can help create a safer environment for them. This type of technology is fairly new, and it allows you to monitor appliance usage by attaching a special plug between the plug of the appliance and the outlet. The purpose of these monitors is to alert the caregiver or occupant that a certain appliance has not been turned off.
Knowing when appliances that have the potential to cause a devastating injury or situation are still operating is important when it comes to keeping your loved one safe. There could be debilitating consequences to an iron or oven being left on, so it’s best to know when something needs to be done sooner than later.
Being a caregiver to a dementia sufferer isn’t always easy, but thanks to modern technology there are things that can make your role a little easier. Some things may even allow your loved one to be more self-reliant. Independent living just may improve their quality of life while putting your mind at ease, knowing that you won’t have to worry about every little thing.