How the internet is changing home care.
The internet has never played such a large part in our society as it does today. From access to more blogs and videos than we could ever read or watch, to instant messaging with friends and family anywhere across the globe, we depend on the internet for many of our daily tasks.
Now, we look to the internet for how it can help our elderly, as well.
From teaching them how to avoid internet scams, to connecting them better with online directories of social groups for over 65s, we continue to see how digital innovation can aid the older generations. More specifically, those with conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s can benefit even more from the internet than we may have previously imagined.
Remembering what’s important
The world can feel uncomfortably unfamiliar to those living with dementia, which may provoke feelings of distress or anger. This is something that the creators of MindMate had to consider when they set about building what they refer to as the “best app available”. Not only does MindMate offer stimulation for the brain with memory exercises and interactive games, but allows users to build their personal stories. This can then be shared with friends and family, or used to simply explore your personal information, which can come in especially handy if a user finds themselves in hospital or a care home.
There are, of course, many other apps like this, some of which may suit an individual’s needs better.
Sometimes it can be exhausting for carers to be with their patients or relatives 24/7, and yet desperately worrying when they are apart from them. New leaps in tracking technology means that carers are able to stay more connected than ever.
For example, Buddi is a wristband designed to be worn at all times. It’s waterproof, tamperproof, lightweight and able to be charged whilst worn. The biggest draw of this device is that carers are able to monitor the wearer’s location, whether that means making sure that they stay in safe areas the carer has approved, or finding them if they should become confused and lost outside the home. It also has an emergency push button and an automatic fall alert.
This allows both the carer and patient or relative to be apart from each other without the same level of worry. It also grants those with memory-related conditions to take more control of their lives, knowing that their Buddi can alert loved ones and carers if they need assistance.
Technology that learns
The Internet of Things refers to devices which are connected to the Internet. Today, phones and computers are the most common devices to be connected, but the Internet of Things hopes to expand that list to many of our household items.
For carers, this technological breakthrough can help not only monitor but actually care for elderly relatives and patients. For example, experts are hoping to release bottles which will dispense correct dosages at correct times, with reminders sent to smartphones, chairs which can monitor how long someone has been sitting, and avatars to help guide people through care routines. Other “things” include heating systems which can detect dangerous temperatures to protect older people from illnesses, and electric metres which alert families to unexpected lulls in activity.
The information these “things” continue to gather can be later shared with carers, allowing for better, more personalised care.
Of course, the internet could never replace the need for personal, hands-on care, but rather by pairing these two, we might better understand the nature of these diseases and the best ways to deliver top quality care for those we love the most.
Laura McLoughlin works with Olympic Lifts, a leading lift and stairlift supplier based in the UK. They have installed over 15,000 projects throughout the UK & Ireland over the last 30 years. This article was a guest contribution.