Most of us have come to rely more and more upon technology to assist us in our homes, especially as we grown older. We also turn to technology to help keep our aging parents as independent as long as possible. That’s true even if that parent has dementia. The question is always how long he or she can remain at home before it makes more sense to transition to memory care.
It is true that, in many cases, if a parent has been diagnosed with dementia in its earlier stages, he or she may be able to remain at home for some period of time. And, yes, technology can help keep mom or dad safe and comfortable. With that goal in mind, here is some of the technology that has gained in popularity in recent years and can provide added support for your loved one and for you.
- Wearable devices: From smart watches to medical alert necklaces, arming your loved one with a smart wearable device can monitor health and provide an easy way for them to get help with the press of a button. The key, of course, is making sure they are wearing the device.
- Security cameras: These are always a good idea, but especially for those aging parents experiencing cognitive decline. Just having a security camera present can be a crime deterrent. When properly placed in the home, they can be monitored.
- Sensors: From bed sensors to doorway sensors, the technology will let you know if mom has left her bed, her room or her home.
- GPS tracking: We all know this from our smart phones. GPS tracking has come a long way and, as long as the device is worn or in the pocket, it can let you know if mom or dad has wandered into unsafe areas. Clearly, however, when wandering becomes an issue you will want to have a responsible person with your parent at all times. Wandering is also a warning sign that it may be time to transition to a memory care community.
- Smart locks: Not only can they be used to lock and unlock doors, they can be set to sound an alarm if an entrance or exit has been breached.
We can expect this list to grow as creative new solutions are developed to serve our ever-aging population. One thing, however, should always be uppermost in your mind: What is best for your parent with dementia? Because no device, no matter how “smart”, will ever be able to replace the presence of a loving, caring human being. And there are other needs your loved will have as the disease progresses. The need for increased safety and for socialization will become more urgent, as will the need to surround your parent with individuals who are experienced in all facets of dementia.
At Anthem Memory Care communities, we deploy leading edge technologies and innovations to ensure that our residents are always safe and comfortable, while respecting their need for independence and to have a sense of purpose. We understand the important role technology plays and its ever-expanding role in supporting all of us as we age. But the human touch will always carry the greatest value. That’s something our caregivers and staff remind us of everyday as they pursue their passion to provide our residents with quality care, respect and love.