EXCLUSIVE: How technology and innovation can support people living with Alzheimer’s at home
Gavin Bashar, UK managing director at Tunstall Healthcare, discusses how technology and innovation can support people living with Alzheimer’s at home.
By Gavin Bashar
There are currently around 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
It can be challenging to care for someone living with dementia, particularly at home. However, technology can help to support carers and enable people living with dementia to stay in familiar surroundings for as long as possible. They are therefore able to enjoy a better quality life for longer, and people who care for them can feel less anxious.
As more is understood about dementia in its various forms it is clear that investing in technology has the potential to make a significant and positive difference to the lives of vulnerable people, and support their needs effectively in their own home.
The benefits of technology
Technologies such as telecare and telehealth offer an excellent opportunity to enhance the quality of life of people living with dementia.
When deployed correctly, technology can enable vulnerable people to remain independent for longer. Systems can be used to help to keep them safe and remain socially involved with friends, family and their community.
Alert systems, along with health and activity monitoring, can be tailored to the needs of individuals and automatically monitor risks inside the home, such as falls or fires. Vulnerable people are also able to call for help in case of an emergency, 24 hours a day, from a range of stakeholders. Furthermore, operators can make proactive calls to service users and check on their wellbeing, and offer advice and support to home carers.
Sensors can be used which will alert a carer if the person they care for leaves their bed during the night, or opens the front door. Devices are also available that can be used outside the home, enabling people to continue familiar routines such as going to the local shop for longer by providing them with an easy means to call for help if they need it. Such devices also incorporate GPS, so the wearer can be easily located.
Discreet monitoring of activity in the home over time, such as how often the kitchen and bathroom are being used, can detect any deterioration in wellbeing at an early stage and enable interventions which can reduce or delay the need for more complex care. Likewise, remote monitoring of vital signs and symptoms can give an early indication of deteriorating health, and clinicians can view data via an online portal to identify individuals that are most in need of intervention.
To fully realise the benefits of technology in dementia care, it should be introduced as early as possible and be tailored to the specific needs of each individual. Securing the right support early will enable users to continue living in an environment of their choice for as long as possible, with independence and dignity.
The role of technology in caregiving
Technology has a key role to play in supporting carers, enabling them to carry out everyday tasks, leave the home for a short while or get a good night’s sleep, knowing they will be alerted if needed. Providing peace of mind that the person they care for is safe and comfortable, and enabling short periods of respite can help to reduce anxiety and prevent carer burnout.
Technology can also support carers in residential care environments, enabling them to respond quickly to events, supporting a least restrictive approach and enabling care to be targeted where and when it’s needed most. Used appropriately it can improve care quality, increase the capacity of key services and enable flexibility in the way care is delivered, helping to address both current and future challenges.
Looking to the future
As in every area of life, technology which can help to support people with Alzheimer’s is advancing every day. In addition to reacting to events such as a person with dementia falling or being unable to find their way home, data insight means we can begin to develop more intelligent solutions which can enable more personalised, preventative and predictive care.
By creating a world where it is standard practice to use technology to support people with dementia, we can improve citizen experience, support improved quality and reliability, and provide person-centred care which is tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals.
For more information on how technology can support people living with Alzheimer’s at home and the people who care for them, please visit www.tunstall.co.uk/our-solutions/connected-care/independent-living/https://thiis.co.uk/exclusive-how-technology-and-innovation-can-support-people-living-with-alzheimers-at-home/https://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/RS8377__pp1.jpghttps://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/RS8377__pp1-150x150.jpgAnalysis & InsightsNewsroomOpinions & CommentsSector Newsageing,Alzheimer's,care,dementia,HoME,technology,Telecare,Tunstall HealthcareGavin Bashar, UK managing director at Tunstall Healthcare, discusses how technology and innovation can support people living with Alzheimer’s at home. By Gavin Bashar There are currently around 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040, according to the Alzheimer's...Liane McIvorLiane McIvorliane@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine