I wasn’t quite sure what dementia topic I wanted to tackle on today’s blog. As I scrolled through my iPhone looking at pictures of my niece, I found an old picture of her playing games on a cell phone when she was two years old. I thought about how remarkable it is that at two years old she was grasping and navigating the game with her tiny finger tips, when children her age can barely walk more than 10 steps before bumping into a nearby wall and landing on their bottoms in a fit of tears. And then it dawned on me. Technology.
Technology is an absolutely amazing thing if you think about how substantially it has grown. We can see someone on the other side of the planet on a tiny screen within seconds. We have the ability to bring the past back at the click of a button. We can store thousands of songs in a device that fits in the palm of our hands. This is incredible, especially when it comes to possibilities in memory care.
Not too long ago, our caregivers watched Sun Dance Film Festival Audience Award Winner in 2014, Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory. This film takes an incredible look into nursing homes and the power music had over the residents.
While this is certainly incredible, there are many other forms of technology that can be utilized as well. iPads can also be an incredible tool for games, videos, pictures, art, communication and so much more. So, I thought that I would share some of the apps that are highly regarded in dementia care for all stages and roles in the diseases. Others are apps that are favorites of our residents. Here are what we consider the best apps for dementia:
is an app that was designed to be a browser for seniors and those living with different types of dementia. The app makes surfing the web and keeping in touch with loved ones easier to do. Features: speech recognition, voice command controls, large buttons and fonts, calendar to sync meds schedule, personalized journal for writing or drawing, simple games for entertainment, memory, thinking and visual processing and quizzes for keeping the brain stimulated.
isn’t just a nifty place to go when you want to see a bunch of cats causing trouble for their owners. YouTube can be an awesome tool for reminiscing, keeping in touch with family far away and listening to music and seeing the visual to accompany. Does Dad love Johnny Cash? YouTube has that.
brings a favorite past time of gardening to life with tranquil sights and sounds on the iPad. The app allows you to plant seeds, watch them grow and create bouquets to share with loved ones. Some flowers will bloom right away, while others will need time and attention. This app comes highly recommended in elder and dementia care.
Acuity Games: Concentration
has memory game that aim to keep the brain healthy based on the research for the University of Cambridge that estimated that one third of cases of Alzheimer’s disease is preventable through brain healthy behaviors. The app includes a daily assessment of the brain, different memory games to keep engaged, single-tap gestures.
GreyMatters: Reaching Beyond Dementia
is an app that aims to improve quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers. Its great features include creating a personalized life story book that allows you to upload photos, with text and voice narration, record and share new memories, add pages of content that appeal to your loved one such as old films and music, and activities for doing with a loved one with dementia.
is an evidence based app that does an initial rating of your brain health and allows you to track your brain health. Acts as a guide to live a lifestyle that will improve your brain health, helps with cognitive skills and has surveys and games to participate in.
is a great app for caregivers and families to keep in touch. It has a color coded calendar, meal planning, shopping lists, to-do lists, set reminders, journal and much more that all can be involved in.
Caregiver Buddy app
The Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter developed the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Buddy app that is a quick and easy way to get tips and tricks to caregivers. Some key features are learning how to deal with wandering, bathing, and meals, help with challenging behaviors and communication, learning about the importance of daily routines and access to live free help 24 hours a day.
is a virtual piano where the user can freestyle play the piano and well as learn to play a favorite song from thousands of options. Songs can have vocals added as well as be shared with loved ones on social media.
is one our residents enjoy! The water is interactive and moves to the swipe. Users can feed the koi, add nature effects, customize the lily pads, observe the koi and their behaviors and also even catch the koi with a rod and bobber.
is a great way to stay in touch with loved ones. You can video chat, text or voice record. You can do almost any daily task needed on Skype and it is great to connect with a loved one in a home far away, their care providers or physician’s.
is one that our very own Katie Rinehimer, Quality of Life Coordinator, plays with our residents, and on her own, and they all love it! This app is for training your memory and attention. Lumosity was design by neuroscientists to train memory and much more.