Ways iPads can help people living with dementia

ipad showing home screen and a notepad in the foregroud

Important Ways iPads Can Help People Living With Dementia

By Chris Moon-Willems

Chris Moon- Willems

Since I bought my mother an iPad I use a variety of iPad apps with her and regularly recommend iPads to my clients who are also responsible for elderly loved ones living with dementia. Even for those with very limited ability, there is much enjoyment and many observable benefits from the iPad for people living with dementia.

There are a multitude of clever and useful applications (called Apps) that enable older people with dementia to: follow their favourite hobby or interest, explore areas they lived in or went to school as a child, communicate with family and friends including those living abroad or a long way away, remember their medication, lift their mood, help them relax, improve their memory, play games, share photos with family and friends and there are many more.

Apps’ can be easily downloaded directly onto the iPad. All you need to do is set up an account in iTunes for the older person to use, although they will almost certainly need help from a relative or carer. Most cost under £3 and many are free.

For older people with more advanced Alzheimer’s you need to use fairly simple apps because anything too advanced becomes frustrating. People seem to respond best to three types of apps; Expression (Drawing and Doodling), Experiential (Nature, Observation, Life Skills), and Music (Listening and Creating).

Connecting families

For me, the most beneficial aspects of the iPad and the increasing number of apps suitable for older people that are being developed, is the new common ground iPads create between older people, their children, and their grandchildren and their ability to connect families living across the globe in a way that would never have been possible a few years ago. This has to be good news! The following will help you keep in touch with your elderly loved one. FaceTime(latest version only) and Skype. Also check out Mindings and Postcards which are great for family members to share photos, texts and manage the older person’s calendar remotely to keep their visits, appointments etc. up to date.


There is a huge range of apps for relaxation techniques and relaxation music. I especially like, healing voice lite, relaxing music radio, relax melodies and natural music for relaxation. Don’t forget you can also download music from the iTunes website.

Chris Moon-Willems is a published author, qualified and registered social worker  and owner of Relative Matters, an elderly care consultancy. She is a respected voice for older people and those responsible for their welfare, based on her extensive social care and NHS experience and personal experience of caring for her elderly parents.

What started out as a simple desire to share the story of her journey with her elderly parents escalated into a recently published book,”Relative Matters-The essential guide to finding your way around the care system for older people”,currently available on Amazon.

Chris has appeared on TV, been interviewed on national and local radio and coached and mentored health and social care professionals across the South East region in person-centered care. You can find out more about Chris by visiting her website

www.relativematters.org or connect with her on Twitter @ ChrisMoonW

Chris Moon- Willems
Chris Moon- Willems





Many thanks Chris for your very interesting and insightful contribution to “Caron Cares”.

Thinking of buying an iPad for someone you know with Dementia ?


Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.


  1. Many thanks Martyn. Are you finding people are making use of your cost effective idea.?

  2. Hi Caron, it’s me again (yes, the one with the Digital Photo Frame Day Clock). I’ve recently started using an Android tablet with my Mum, and have written a blog post about it. It’s here http://design4dementia.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/using-android-tablets-and-devices-for.html if you’re interested.

    Martyn 🙂

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