Finding help to cope with dementia

By Nathan Downing - TSA Associate

22 September 2017



Almost all of us, either professionally or personally, will have knowledge of dementia, the impact it has and the struggles people face. But the breadth of technology, from everyday simple gadgets that can be found on the high street through to GPS locating devices linked to smartphones, is ever-growing.


Services supporting those with dementia will be aware that while daily routine can become a struggle, sufferers are adamant they wish to remain in their own homes and communities. Technology can play a key role in supporting that objective, helping individuals and their carers and providing vital support in times of ever tightening budgets. The biggest challenge is finding the right information and advice on where to find such technology, learning about what has worked for others and building the confidence to feel that informed decisions can be made.


TSA and our member organisations provide simple messages about the outcomes that can be achieved, the range of solutions that can make a difference and where they can be found.


TSA has become the long-term home for the AT Home website – www.athome.uk.com, an ever-evolving resource aimed at providing information, advice, handy tips, demonstration guides and most importantly, video testimonials from those wanting to share their story about what has worked for them.


The testimonials cover an increasing number of products and solutions, focusing on individuals and their stories, rather than specific product models and manufacturers, and the site has been both welcomed and contributed to by many technology enabled care service providers and suppliers.


Two such testimonials highlight how technology can support those with dementia and their carers/families to remain at home, sleeping in their own bed, sitting on their own settee - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnQGbbdVkio and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFgwt0prwWI


From the simple everyday gadget to solutions that can alert discreetly if a loved one has left the property, technology can play a key role in supporting loved ones and carers to live as independently as possible. But what works for one person may not work well for another, particularly if solutions are introduced at different stages.


As we develop our own sites and materials to showcase our particular service offer or solutions, we continually need to think as a consumer ourselves and articulate what we think people will be looking for. We have to understand that often they will be looking for solutions at a time of increased anxiety or crisis. Messages should be simple, putting people at ease and driven by personas to help people to identify with someone who is just like mum or dad. Helpful sites include:


AskSARA - http://asksara.dlf.org.uk/

AT Dementia -https://www.atdementia.org.uk/

Independent for Longer -http://www.independentforlonger.com/


Bringing new technology to a wider group of people will also begin to dispel any myths over what the equipment is or isn’t doing. Some may be concerned that they are being watched or conversations recorded; others are wary of the technology working if they are in rural areas.


Making best use of the data provided by a range of solutions is vital to ensure investment is being used effectively. An ongoing trial in Surrey is pulling information from each device allocated to dementia sufferers into a single software platform to provide a clear view of how someone is being supported and identify changes in needs or habits. We hope the trial will lead to further services being created in a similar way - http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/surrey-couple-trial-groundbreaking-dementia-13408943


I would recommend that people become Dementia Friends and use their knowledge of technology enabled care to spread awareness to the wider public. I personally spend some time each week on the Alzheimer’s Society Talking Point forum - https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/ - providing information and feedback to those looking for solutions. While there is currently no cure for dementia there is a lot we can do to help dementia sufferers and their loved ones cope.


Nathan Downing

TSA Associate - Social Care & Housing


Knowledge Bank


TSA would welcome contributions from our members in the form of case studies and video testimonials - https://www.tsa-voice.org.uk/node/3298


Talk to us

TSA may be able to support your organisation to develop services to help people with dementia.

Email: nathan.downing@TSA-Voice.org.uk