Put Technology to Work for People with Alzheimer's
Personal use of technology is changing our lives in significant ways. Computer access provides us with emails, forums, social networking sites, Skype, and access to information. Technology is shaping the way we communicate, deal with the transfer of money, seek help, educate ourselves, maintain and acquire new friends and keep in touch with relatives. It is embedded in the way we educate ourselves, the work we do, and even how we play.
This knowledge means we will continue using such applications for as long as we are able and it is beginning to change the face of disability and chronic illness.
Skype is a free application that allows face-to-face video interactions. So long as both parties have access to a computer with a camera and microphone (mostly these are built in as standard) and the internet connection, you can enjoy real time conversations from anywhere on the planet. Skype is a fantastic way of staying in contact, monitoring for increased confusion or illness. It costs nothing.
Email hardly needs to be explained but some people may need a little help. Receiving and sending emails can be fun, but again access to a computer or TV that has email functionality is needed.
Social Networking Sites
We currently enjoy other communication systems such as Facebook where HealthCentral, has has a presence (as do many millions of individuals throughout the world). And anyone who uses a phone or a personal computer will be familiar with tweeting, online chat and various other systems. Such applications will, in all probability, follow us into old age. As a result they will probably be adapted and refined but significantly they will become a routine and helpful way to stay in contact.
Social networking sites can help to prevent social isolation and may allow secure applications from social and community services that will allow help to reach vulnerable people with dementia quicker; for example in medical emergencies, following acts of abuse, call for help from and to friends and relatives.
Safeguards would obviously have to be built in to stop people with dementia accessing other people's information or their own systems being used inappropriately. A further problem may be that the inability to learn new information could prevent us keeping up with the changes as we age and our memories deteriorate. Ease of use and the increasing simplicity and paucity of technologies will hopefully balance that out.
Here are some funny YouTube Links of older people actively using YouTube
Dorian's sharepost is a great example of education apps. This links to an app called Sort it out that helps us to understand what it is like to have Alzheimer's.
Other examples of technologies that will help us and people with Alzheimer's now and in the future are;
- Cell phones with tracking devices.
- Wii games consoles for social engagement, physical and mental exercise from your armchair or for the more able and energetic.
- Memory Game Technology, the use it or lose it sort of apps. Here Carol Bradley Bursack Sharepost gives information on Mind Exercises to help prevent Alzheimer's and help keep our skills going
- StumbleUpon shares our interests and information.
It can take a bit of effort initially to get used to, teach and support loved ones in the use of personal technologies, but the dividends offer us a future full of potential.