Last week, it was announced that dementia has overtaken coronary heart disease as the leading cause of death in the UK. Actually, for men it is still heart disease, but averaged across the sexes, dementia has taken over as the biggest killer.
People with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia live, on average, about four and a half years after their condition is diagnosed. That can be a long time to live with symptoms ranging from memory loss and confusion to depression and personality changes. Later on, as the condition deteriorates, dementia can also be associated with symptoms like speech problems, reduced mobility, incontinence and weight loss. Coping with these symptoms is not just difficult for the diagnosed individuals, but initially and often progressively extremely challenging for their families. Family members are often caught in a continuous, and often thankless, routine of caregiving. They want to do the best they can for their loved one, which may mean early retirement, no holidays and significant financial outlays on home or residential care.
Can technology help?
There has been some interesting research done into the potential application of new technologies in diagnosing or treating dementia. Virtual reality projects like “A Walk Through Dementia” have been used to give people greater insight into living life with dementia. Recent videogame research shows deterioration in navigational skills could serve as a test for dementia. The jury is out on the use of brain training games to delay the onset and progression of dementia with research to date being inconclusive. While this is all fantastic stuff – particularly as this research has been chronically underfunded compared to other killers like cancer (receiving 13x less funding) – it is still a way off making a meaningful difference to the families of those with an incurable disease.
At Alcove, we didn’t set out to create a solution specifically for people with dementia – rather a system that could help all people live in their own homes where they want to be, and give family members peace of mind to know that their loved one is doing what we take for granted – eating and drinking enough, sleeping well, taking any medication to keep them healthy, not feeling lonely or isolated and so on.
What we have found is that the families of those with dementia are our biggest fans, and have used the system in ways we could not have imagined when we started out. The world really is a curious place and there’s nowhere more curious than a human mind.
What can Alcove do for customers with dementia and their families?
- Try out our easy to use monitoring system: money back in full after 30 days if you don’t like it.
- Try our simple touchscreen communication aid: allows you to communicate simply via phone or video call by just pressing a familiar face raises a call.
- Allows you to text message or set up scheduled messages, memory prompts and medication reminders to be sent to an in-home device
- Any number of family members with permission can monitor their loved one in real time from any mobile device
- System is easily installed; no wiring is required; and the sensors are small and discreet; battery life of all devices can be monitored.
- Configurable to allow the natural movement of the customer and alert to any unusual behavior.
- Gives family peace of mind - can pinpoint location in the house, see that they are eating or taking their medication and most importantly, know that they are at home when they should be
- The Care Aware carer monitoring system can show when carers have attended as well as family members. If an expected visit is late or missed, an alert can be raised.
Find out more about what we do here.