There has been a huge amount of research to help assist those living with dementia. Read more about the newest tech innovations that could make it easier for an elderly person to stay in their own home.
There are around 850,000 people living with some form of dementia in the UK, according to figures produced by the Alzheimer’s Society, a figure unlikely to fall any time soon. And, many of these are people who desperately wish to remain in their own home for as long as possible.
With today’s greater understanding of the needs of dementia patients, this is more possible than ever largely due to the excellent range of home care services available to older people who prefer the idea of care in their own home as a way of keeping their independence.
To facilitate this, research is ongoing into a raft of new tech innovations which will assist and monitor people to live safely at home through the continual assessment of a patient’s health. Here’s our pick of the best new technologies.
Robotics and AI
Rapid development in this field is producing robotic devices which can alert someone with dementia to hazards such as liquid spills on the floor or an electrical appliance remaining switched on. Artificial Intelligence using sensors will be able to monitor vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure. And also changes such as a higher bodily temperature or a different gait which could be early indicators of infection or a fall risk. The common scenario of the elderly person with a urinary infection which goes untreated and lands them in hospital could become a thing of the past.
Early Tests for Infection
A simple test can be carried out at home to look for common infections which can make the symptoms of dementia worse and these could be sent immediately to the GP.
Tracking Changes in the Home
Unobtrusive tech could be installed in the home to monitor the patient’s everyday behaviour to detect any changes to cognitive and memory behaviour. Leaving a pan on the hob to boil dry, failing to eat or drink, or forgetting to turn off the gas or TV can be easily detected and avoided before problems arise. Any of the above tests and observations could be carried out using smartphone technology and sent electronically for rapid evaluation.
Technology is helping people all over the world with various illnesses, disabilities and compromised living environments and is continually developing and expanding. And at last doctors, engineers, scientists and tech experts are coming together in a multi-million pound research project to support the UK Dementia Research Institute as they strive to find solutions to enable those with dementia to live safely and happily at home using assistive technologies.
Care and Tech Innovations Go Hand in Hand
Of course, no matter how high-tech the home is, you can never replace the feeling of safety and security that comes with being cared for by another human being and where dementia is advanced and the patient wants to stay at home there will always be a need for home care services to help with this. But there’s no doubt that as the tech develops it will enable families and carers to intervene at an earlier stage if changes or illnesses are detected and avoid the elderly person needing to go into hospital.