25 Useful Apps for Dementia Patients and CarersJuly 20, 2016
Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a set of symptoms including memory loss, difficulties with problem solving, language, thinking, and concentration, as well as periods of mental confusion, and changes in personality and mood. People with dementia may become apathetic and lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy, or they may have difficulty controlling their emotions. Some dementia sufferers can become withdrawn from social interaction, and they may lose empathy for others, and could also suffer from depression.
There are a number of different types and causes of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies among others. The thing that they all have in common is that symptoms develop gradually and progress at a different rate for each individual, and the condition cannot be cured.
A person living with dementia will require more and more care as their condition progresses and worsens. However, during the early or mildest stage of dementia there are a number of things that can be done to help the person to maintain as much of their independence as possible, and help to keep their brain active, possibly slowing the onset of middle stage moderate symptoms for a little longer.
Nowadays the majority of people own a smart phone or tablet device loaded with all manner of apps; but did you know that there are a plethora of apps on the market that could be beneficial to people with dementia?
Whether you are experiencing early signs of dementia and are looking for ways to boost your memory, or you’re a carer looking after a dementia patient, it’s likely that there’s an app or two that can make life a little bit easier for all involved.
We’ve put together a list of 25 apps that are well worth downloading to your device...
Daily Aid Apps
Dementia Digital Diary
A live clock and diary that is remotely configurable. The app tells the time and also lets the user know whether it is morning, afternoon, evening, or night rather than focusing on minutes and seconds etc. Dementia Diary will also clearly display the next three calendar events for the user, and can be updated remotely, provided the device is connected to the internet.
Available for free on Android
Designed to be installed onto an unused tablet to act as a clock, the Dementia Clock uses visual cues to let the user know what time of day it is. Remaining time-oriented can help a dementia patient to maintain their independence, remember when to eat, and also let them know when it is night time as a cue that they should go to bed soon.
MediSafe Meds & Pills Reminder
People with dementia will typically have problems with short term memory and may forget to take their regular medication. This app will alert them when it’s time to take their various types of medication, and also when it’s time to reorder a prescription.
Family Locator GPS Tracker
People with dementia struggle with short term memory loss, and this can often mean that they forget where they are or where they should be. This app allows family members to track each other, provided they have the device with them and the GPS is activated.
MyTherapy offers peace of mind to dementia patients and their families. It features reliable medication reminders, as well as comprehensive tracking of blood pressure, blood glucose etc in easy to use charts. Many doctors also use the MyTherapy app's built-in reports to better understand their patients' progress. The app has been scientifically proven in its effectiveness by Europe's largest university hospital, Charité Berlin. Additionally, family and friends can receive notifications for missed medication!
Memory Training Apps
Elevate Brain Training
Designed to improve cognitive skills and increase confidence. Everyone can benefit from improving their cognitive functions such as memory, processing, precision, and comprehension, but it is particularly important for a person with dementia. This app allows people to do over 35 different activities and puzzles to enhance brain function.
Fit Brains Trainer
According to research the average person forgets four things every day, and that number is much higher for people with dementia. Fit Brains targets the six major areas of the brain: memory, concentration, language, speed of thinking, problem solving, and visual-spatial with over 50 different games, activities, and brain workouts.
Lumosity Brain Training
Another app designed to challenge and improve memory, attention, and other cognitive abilities with daily activities and games. Designed by a team of scientists, this app presents a variety of cognitive and neuropsychological tasks that boost brain function.
Memory Games Brain Training
Nine different games with different levels to work through help to improve cognitive function and memory skills. People with dementia can suffer with a loss of concentration, but apps like this can help them to regain focus on something and strengthen their brain functions.
Available for free on Android
Living with dementia can make people feel stressed, depressed, and anxious, so it’s important to relax. This app contains a wide variety of soothing nature recordings designed to create a calming and relaxing environment for the listener. Sounds include forest and campfire, sea, river and waterfall, bird and other animal sounds.
Memory loss, confusion, and mind fog can be stressful and upsetting for a person with dementia. Meditation and mindfulness can help when things get too overwhelming for them, and this app guides the user through a series of short meditations. It is initially free to download, but users will be required to pay to unlock additional material.
Soothing Sleep Sounds
People with dementia can sometimes lose track of what time of day or night it is, and this can then impact their sleep cycle and could lead to insomnia. An app like Soothing Sleep Sounds is designed to offer just that – sounds that will soothe you to sleep. Choose from an extensive catalogue of relaxing music to drop off to.
Available for free on Android
Word Search Puzzles
Doing puzzles like word searches is good for challenging the brain and improving cognitive function. The Word Search Puzzles app allows you to do an unlimited amount of puzzles on your device, without the need to carry a puzzle book and pen around with you!
Candy Crush Saga
The aim of the game is to match up three or more candies to make them disappear, and achieve the goal of each level within the allotted time or moves. There are over 600 levels to work through, so there’s a lot of mileage in this game, and it’s a great way to relax and improve cognitive function at the same time.
This classic arcade puzzle game is now available as an app on your smart phone or tablet. The aim of the game is to slot the puzzle pieces together as they fall from the top of the screen by rotating them until they fit. When a full line is formed across the screen it will disappear, giving you more room at the top to rotate the shapes. It promotes cognitive function and hand-eye coordination.
Caregiver and Information Apps
This app aims to serve as a memory aid and provide conversation inspiration for relatives and caregivers of those suffering with dementia. It contains information about famous people, places, topics, and events from the 20th century that can help to spark conversations. There’s also a scrapbook in which to save favourite memories for quick reference.
This app, built by AppInstitute, is aimed at relatives, caregivers, and emergency service personnel working with people with dementia in emergency situations. It includes advice on how to approach and communicate someone with mid to late stage dementia who may be anxious or upset, as well as guidance on dealing with specific situations.
This app is like a guardian angel for those with dementia and their carers. It features games to stimulate the brain, a memory-saving section, and tips and advice for caregivers on how to handle different situations.
Available for free on iOS, with additional paid versions also available
Alzheimer’s Society Talking Point Forum
This is an online support and discussion forum for anyone who is affected by dementia and their caregivers. The app allows users to ask for advice, share information, join in the discussion, receive support, and read other peoples’ experiences.
A Walk Through Dementia
This innovative virtual reality app allows users to experience what life is like for a person with dementia. It uses a combination of 360 degree video sequences and computer generated environments to illustrate how even the most simple of tasks can be difficult for a person with dementia.
Available for free on Android