Dementia can be physically and emotionally draining for families.
When someone you love is diagnosed with dementia, it’s normal to feel a little helpless and wonder how you can support them when it feels like a piece of them is slipping away, because the truth is, they’re just not the same as they used to be.
It’s estimated that as many as two million people are suffering from dementia in our country today, according to Alzheimer’s South Africa.
What is dementia?
- Dementia is an umbrella term that covers various irreversible, progressive brain diseases that result in impaired mental capacity, with memory loss the most prominent symptom.
- Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and others all fall under this umbrella. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common, accounts for between 60 and 80% of all cases.
Family support for sufferers is crucial – but where do you begin? If someone you love is in the early stages of dementia, they’ll still be able to care for themselves with you only dropping in daily or occasionally to make sure they’re coping. And technology can help too.
5 of the best dementia apps
The latest dementia apps can be a great way of helping the person you know, living with dementia. These apps are designed to help dementia sufferers reconnect with themselves and the world around them. And there are also apps that can offer you advice when you need it.
So take a look at our pick of the best…
Dementia Calendar Clock
This app has been designed to help people with dementia remember daily events and activities easily. It’s visually stimulating with large images and bold letters (with colours specifically chosen for their clarity) to support independent living and reduce levels of anxiety for those living with the disease.
The developers of this app have also used attractive, familiar images most people are connected to in some way to help spark memory and make people feel safe and secure.
The app is universal – making it effective wherever you are. Some of its key features include;
• All the seasons
• Day/ night displays (using your GPS for location)
• Important events
• A choice between analogue or digital display
This is one of the most helpful apps out there for patients, caregivers and researchers. Also known as “AlzU” , this app was created by Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian, and gives access to loads of helpful information through education, nutritional information and various treatment options.
The main aim of this app is to help people who are at risk of Alzheimer’s, to maintain optimal brain functioning before symptoms arise, and to later treat the disease. Whatever it is you want to know or ask about dementia and Alzheimer’s, this app can really help. Some great features include;
- Free lessons and resources
- The latest prevention research
- Memory activity games
- Nutrition and wellness news
Through the app, you can also learn about the latest FDA-approved therapies, brain-healthy lifestyle choices and new vitamins and supplements specifically for memory.
Free, available on iOS
This informative app uses reminiscence therapy to encourage those living with dementia to regularly talk about their thoughts and memories.
The app uses images from the web to create a detailed profile of the person with dementia. It includes some personal images of events, favourite places, films and music. Family members can upload any details about the person to help them remember people, places and events.
Members can also include details such as their likes and dislikes, and when they were born, etc. Using the app can help both the person with dementia and family members connect – when communication is difficult.
Free, get it here – remindmecare.com
MindMate can help people with dementia to live a happy and independent life for as long as possible. The app has plenty of useful resources for those suffering from dementia.
Firstly, it aims to help with self-management by providing daily tips and activities such as memory games, videos, workouts and recipes.
Then, it aims to support the person with dementia in their everyday life by storing all personal information and building a personal profile that can be shared with family and friends.
Plus, it also includes a useful reminder tool to log important dates and events. There’s also the chance to watch and listen to films from the 40s, 50, 60s, 70s and 80s thanks to the music and TV section.
Free, available on iOS
See more here, mindmate-app.com
Alzheimer’s Daily Companion
This app is a little different to the others, but it’s really useful because it’s designed to provide a supportive network for those caring for Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Besides over 500 informative tips and practical solutions to common problems caregivers face, the app also includes a helpful forum where you can read others advice to see what really helps and what doesn’t.
Plus, it includes a rating system where members rate each other’s tips so that all members on the group can learn from each other. You can do a quick search for tips by category such as “Agitation and anxiety”, “Going out in public” or “Hiding and misplacing things” and get instant help and guidance.
There’s also a 24-hour caregiving assistance line via a toll-free number or email submission, so help is always at-hand.