Embracing Innovation: Implementing Technology with Persons Living with Dementia – Positive Approach to Care

Embracing Innovation: Implementing Technology with Persons Living with Dementia - Positive Approach to Care

By Julie Gala, MA CCC-SLP, PAC Certified Independent Trainer, Senior Director of Clinical Success at RESTORE Skills In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, the integration of technology has become a driving force across various aspects of people’s lives. From smartphones to online banking, technology has transformed the way we connect, work, and engage with the world around us. However, when it comes to people living with dementia, there is a unique set of challenges and considerations that must be addressed to ensure that technology serves as a meaningful and supportive tool, rather than a source of confusion or frustration. People living with dementia face brain change which can impact their ability to navigate and comprehend complex technology. It’s important to understand each individual’s needs when implementing technology and tailor strategies accordingly. This involves tapping into their retained abilities while creating user-friendly interfaces, simplifying processes, and ensuring that the technology aligns with the cognitive abilities of the individual which can turn uh-oh moments into aha moments. One area where technology can significantly benefit people living with dementia is through cognitive stimulation applications. These specially designed apps engage users in activities that stimulate memory, problem-solving, and creativity. From puzzle games to reminiscence apps, these tools can enhance cognitive function and provide a sense of accomplishment for individuals living with dementia. Another critical aspect is the use of assistive technologies to enhance safety and security. GPS tracking devices and wearable technology can provide peace of mind for care partners, allowing them to monitor the location of their person living with dementia. This not only ensures the safety of the individual, but also offers a degree of independence that might otherwise be compromised. Technology can also play a pivotal role in simplifying communication. Video calls, voice messages, and intuitive messaging apps can facilitate connections with friends and family, fostering a sense of social engagement, and emotional well-being. Ensuring that these communication tools are user-friendly and accessible is paramount for their effectiveness. Implementing technology in healthcare settings for people living with dementia requires a diligent effort to overcome existing barriers. Scheduling appointments, accessing medical records, and understanding treatment plans can be challenging for individuals with brain change. Therefore, healthcare providers should prioritize the adoption of user-friendly digital platforms, ensuring that both patients and care partners can easily navigate and understand the content. Equally important is offering training and support for care partners. As technology continues to play a larger role in dementia care, they will need to feel confident in their ability to integrate and utilize these tools effectively. Workshops, resources, and ongoing support can empower care partners to leverage technology as a valuable asset in providing care. In conclusion, the successful implementation of technology in dementia care requires a positive and collaborative approach. Technology developers, healthcare professionals, and care partners, should work together to create solutions that are innovative, practical, and user-friendly. Integrating technology with persons living with dementia holds great promise for improving their quality of life and independence. However, care partners and family members should be mindful of their unique needs and challenges, working towards creating a tech-savvy and inclusive environment that truly enhances the lives of those living with dementia.