Whether you are looking to lose weight, order food, book tickets or even just chat with your friends, there are more and more phone applications which are becoming available that can help to make our day-to-day lives easier. And it is no different with healthcare.
As an example, dementia is a very common problem in the UK — especially amongst older people. It occurs when certain parts of the brain don’t function in the way that they normally would, and this can lead to symptoms such as memory loss, difficulties with language, problem solving and difficulties with general life. According to Helping Hands — who organise for carers to help people who suffer from dementia:
‘while there are no definitive rules behind diagnosing dementia, there are many common symptoms of the condition’.
By understanding the issues faced by those who are suffering from dementia, technology can be developed to help to make their lives easier.
The Symptoms of Dementia
Helping Hands suggest that some of the early signs of dementia include:
- Memory loss
- Language Difficulties
- Personality changes
- Lower sense of judgement
- Lack of initiative
- Difficulties with keeping track
As the condition progresses, communication can become a big issue and people who suffer from dementia need an increased amount of care to be given as the illness develops.
Help through Phone Applications
There is an increasing amount of technology — especially phone applications — which can help both the person who is suffering from dementia, as well as the person that is caring for someone with the condition — often family members.
- There are a number of clocks and diaries which can help sufferers to see whether it is morning or evening, time to go to bed, or know what they have got on in the next few days. They can also be set to remind people when to take medication, which is crucial, especially if they are suffering from short-term memory loss.
- There are apps which can be used to track family members, helping to give families ease of mind.
- Trying to avoid isolation is vital for anyone who is suffering from dementia, so being able to use a phone, Skype, or even social media can be very beneficial. There are apps which can help to make this easier for the sufferer — by, for example, making the letters bigger on a phone, or allowing for dictation instead of typing.
- Other apps can monitor physical factors such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels if needed, as well as activity. It is useful for medical professionals to see this data — especially if the patient has trouble remembering things.
- Those who suffer with dementia are urged to try to keep their brain as active as possible, so memory and brain training apps can be very useful. Puzzles such as Mahjong and Candy Crush are good examples.
- It is also very important for everyone — especially those who suffer from dementia — to be able to relax. Some phone applications are able to help you to relax through activities such as colouring or meditating with relaxing sounds.
- It can be useful for those who are suffering from dementia to reminisce about the past, and there are apps which can help carers to investigate events in the past, as well as save memories.
- Memory loss is a common and worrying symptom of depression. There are many apps which can help sufferers live more easily with memory loss. Apps, for example will show people where they have parked their car or remind them that they need to do something (like eat or take medication).
- There are also phone applications which can help caregivers to remember when appointments are, or when to give medication, and to share this with other caregivers.
- Other apps for caregivers can give information about how to deal with certain situations or behaviour.
Phone apps can be very useful in many situations in our lives. Whether they are helping those who are suffering with their actual symptoms, giving them a better quality of life, enabling easier monitoring for doctors and family, or making the care giver’s job easier — they are all important.
One of the biggest problems with dementia is that as sufferers get worse. Over time, they are less able to communicate with us and this makes it a difficult illness to understand. With closer monitoring and better technology, we are beginning to understand more about a whole range of health issues — not just dementia — and so it is inevitable that there will be more and more apps produced to make people’s quality of life as good as it can be.