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Using technology for meaningful activities in dementia care

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Topics: 
approaches to dementia care, research, technology

The role of technology has become more and more prominent in our daily lives. A typical day in our own lives entails checking our phones regularly throughout the day. There are always emails, messages, social media posts to be checked. We depend on technology for almost everything (e.g. remembering phone numbers, mapping out directions and setting our alarms). Interestingly, the use of technology has increased in almost all generations.

Technology carries a lot of potential within the care for older people with dementia. An example: technology can enable carers to keep track of their loved ones in case they wander by providing them with a mobile phone including GPS. If technology can be implemented within care as a helpful tool, it will not only increase the accessibility of care, in addition it will reduce the burden many carers experience. Of course, technology undeniably poses some limitations and barriers towards its use among older people with dementia and their carers. It can be difficult and even frustrating to navigate which can be very discouraging. Additionally, technological resources can be expensive and are not always readily available for everyone.

In order to overpass these challenges, the Interdisciplinary Network for Dementia Using Current Technology (INDUCT) is aimed at developing a multi-disciplinary, inter-sectorial educational research framework for Europe. The biggest aim is to improve technology and care for people with dementia, and to provide the evidence to show how technology can improve the lives of people with dementia. Within INDUCT we have recently started working on our own projects at the Institute of Mental Health of the University of Nottingham which we would like to share with you.

Aline will search for tablet apps on digital arts and crafts that people with dementia find easy to use. She will conduct an online cross-country survey to check which apps are more popular and used in care settings in the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands. She believes that the use of digital arts apps can engage and stimulate, improve quality of life and socialization, bringing benefits to people with dementia. Especially to people living in nursing homes and care homes, who are often socially excluded from participation in cultural and creative activities, which are widely available in the outside world.  

Harleen will develop an interactive touch screen tablet version of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) which can be used for people with dementia and their carers in the UK. This will then be adapted for users in Spain and the Netherlands according to the cultural contexts of these countries. Finally, the potential benefits of the developed and translated website/app will be evaluated. CST is a brief, psychological treatment for people with mild to moderate dementia which has been shown to improve cognition and quality of life. She is very excited to be a part of this project since she believes the accessibility and reach of CST will be improved on a large scale. It holds a great deal of promise for current and future generations and to be a part of this promise is truly uplifting.

With our research we hope to make technology a more integrated part of dementia care whilst stimulating people with dementia to participate actively on a cognitive and social level. This could lead to an overall improvement of the wellbeing of people with dementia within Europe and beyond.

 

For further information, please visit: http://www.dementiainduct.eu/ and http://www.cstdementia.com/

 

 

 

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