A diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s does not mean that a person has to become completely reliant on others and give up her independence. Depending on individual needs and circumstances, with some assistive technology and support from family or social services, many people manage to maintain much of their independence and remain in their own homes for a considerable length of time. “Assistive technology” is any means or product that enables a person to live more independently and makes essential daily tasks easier for both the patient and the family.
Recorded by a familiar voice, such as a close family member, these messages play automatically to prompt or remind an Alzheimer’s patient of important information. The reminders can be set to operate at certain times: for example, to remind the patient to take her medication.
The device can also be set to activate when a pressure mat is activated. For example, if a sufferer lives alone but is in the habit of waking up and wandering during the night, a pressure mat can be placed in the bedroom doorway or beside the bed. When the patient wakes and stands on the pressure mat, a reassuring message can be played, prompting the patient to return to bed. If the patient has a habit of leaving the house at inappropriate times or without getting dressed or locking the door, messages can be recorded to suit all individual needs.
Simple tablet boxes may be purchased from most pharmacies with different compartments for different days and times. These can be filled by family members or caretakers for up to a week in advance to ensure that patients take the correct medication.
Automatic dispensers are also available. Once filled by an appropriate person, the dispenser can be set to administer the correct medication at the correct times. The dispenser will beep and release only the required dosage. Some models can be programmed with a voice prompt to remind the patient to take the medication. Automatic dispensers enable patients to administer their medication independently, without the risk of a patient accidentally taking too many tablets.
Visual aids can provide valuable assistance to Alzheimer’s patients. Simple signs may be positioned around the home, such as reminders of where rooms are located, or labels on drawers and cabinets. Digital visual aids are available that display time, day and date in large, simple fonts. Digital aids are also available that display morning, afternoon, evening and night, as many patients suffer from confusion regarding time of day, perhaps believing it is morning when it’s actually evening.
- Alzheimer’s Society: Assistive Technology
- AT Dementia: MEM-X Vocal Memory Aid
- AT Dementia: BIME Wander Reminder
- AT Dementia: Night and Day Calendar With Pictures
- AT Dementia: Prompts and Reminders
By Rebecca Britton, eHow ContributorUpdated August 23, 2010
Read more: Products to Assist Alzheimer’s Patients at Home | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6884205_products-assist-alzheimer_s-patients-home.html#ixzz1RwGKvhAj
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