In a recent article by The Washington Post, the issue of how technology can help residents and caregivers were explored. There are several apps, programs, and tools that can help make life a little easier for caregivers.
Instead of a paper list of medications, time they should be taken, and refill times, a new app called Balance that allows users to create that list on their phones. The $3.99 app was released by the National Alzheimer Center. The medication list is just a part of what the app offers. It also provides caregiving tips, notes for doctor appointments, and a news feed about Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a program called Comfort Zone which is a tracking program. The person with Alzheimer’s wears a tracking device. As they go places, the data is sent to the program, which can be checked from a phone, an iPad, a computer, etc. The family member knows where the person is going. Tracking programs like these are especially useful because they provide freedom for people who don’t need to be under supervision. The tracking program allows family members to see the person’s patterns, and as the disease progresses, it can become clear that further action needs to be taken.
Autism Speaks has given iPads to low income families in an attempt to create better communication between autistic children and caregivers. There are a number of programs which can be used on the iPad and computer which help organize information about medicines, appointments, behavioral notes, etc. However, there are also programs designed to foster learning. Since many autistic children face issues with social communication and behavioral impairments, these devices can provide an outlet for their opinions and their thoughts without being physically taxing. iPads can also be a reward. When lessons are finished, children can play with the iPad or watch videos.
Vice President of the Alzheimer’s Association Beth Kallmyer suggests that we be cautious in moving forward with these tools. She believes that it’s too early to depend on these tools completely. As she says, the population affected with Alzheimer’s is the older generation and sometimes they don’t feel comfortable with this technology.