Anyone caring for someone with dementia will know the art of conversation can become a labour of love.
Loss of connection, feelings of isolation and communication issues are some of the most difficult challenges when caring for people living with dementia.
Innovations in assistive technological have helped improve the lives of people living with dementia by providing support, reminders and additional cognitive exercises where they can learn and practice strategies to remain independent longer. Tools such as ‘apps’ (applications or programs for smartphones and tablets) have been utilised in this field to help people living with dementia.
Apps can be used in a variety of ways, for a variety of purposes and in a variety of settings. They can support people in carrying out everyday tasks and activities, enhance a person’s safety, support their social participation, and monitor their health. There is also a wide assortment of apps that can help to keep minds active which is important to reduce the likelihood and the ongoing effects of developing dementia.
Caregivers can also benefit from these sorts of apps. Carers of people living with dementia will know that a wide range and variety of stimulation from sensory to visual to cognitive is beneficial, so it is positive that more apps are available to provide people living with dementia and their carers with a range of tools that help forge connections and keep minds active. The AmuseIT app, developed in New Zealand is one of the first applications (internationally) that is aimed at providing an activity for caregivers and people living with dementia. This is important as caregivers also need to feel supported and reassured. The app also contains cognitive disability design, which means that the technology does not get in the way of the activity.
Like many dementia focused apps, the AmuseIT app supports cognitive activity through rekindling of memory, recognition of objects, problem solving and coordination. It has been specially designed to bring people together through conversation thanks to more than 1000 simple, yet very visual, quiz questions. The app has received positive results and feedback from people living with dementia and carer’s alike.
Dementia is a growing health issue and the more assistance that can be provided to carers to maintain communication and engagement the better.
The app can be downloaded from the windows and apple store or as an android app on google play. The cost of the app is NZ $14.99.