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5 Technological Innovations For Those With Dementia

by Holly Clark

5Technological Innovations for Those With Dementia

Dementia can be terrifying and devastating to both caregivers as well as the loved ones affected by this disease. People with this disease can now feel some relief due to technological advancement which is meant to improve the quality of their lives. This technology can enhance autonomy as well as independence, manage possible risks in homes and get rid of stress.

In this article, we are going to look at the 5 technological innovations for those with Dementia.

1. Communication Aids

Interacting with others is necessary for the quality of life in memory care. Individuals with dementia can remember how an event has made them feel, even if they are unable to recall the faces and names. Technology has simplified the interaction process with loved ones. Adapted telephones are now programmed with contacts that are frequently dialed and usually have bigger buttons which simplify their usage. It’s now possible to stay connected with loved ones who are distant apart via the video chat services.

“Changes in the brain caused by dementia begin years before diagnosis. And throughout this timeframe, there are no clear signsthat that person has dementia.” comments Jane Byrne, Project Coordinator at FirstCare.

2. Electrical applianceuse monitoring

This innovation is meant for caregivers who do not stay together with their loved ones. It controls the use of electrical apparatuses through plugging into a power strip or wall outlet as it will notify caregivers when their appliances have been switched on or off. These technologies do not makethe diagnosis of dementia easy. This disease is yet overwhelming. The dementiais now more manageable; this is due to the innovation in new technologies.

3. Reminder messages

Reminders play an important role as the caregiver does as they help to keep the loved ones safe and also retain their relationships. The recording of these messages is done on a device in the residential area and then played out loud at the most suitable time. Caregivers can record a message that when played reminds an individual to take medication at the appropriate time. Some gadgets are designed to play messages based on individuals activity. Some devices are meant to remind individuals with dementia to lock the front doorwhen leaving home. There are other reminder messages designed to help people with dementia on when to close the door when to go to bed and provide reassurance at times when the caregiver is not present.

4. Home care robots

Technological advancement has led to the invention of home care robots which will help reduce the caregiver duty. They are not designed to replace human caregivers, but instead, they are meant to do overall housework and remind individuals who are suffering from dementia on when to take medication or notify medical experts when assistance is required. With further inventions, home care robots may replace caregivers and handle their responsibility fully.

5. In-home cameras

In-home cameras are another technological innovation that is meant to enhance the safety of your loved ones from a distance. By either positioning the camera focusing on medication or in the entrance room can increase your confidence as you are sure your loved one is taking the necessary medication and also active. These cameras can monitor movements and also enable one to communicate with his or her loved one. It will also notify you if no movements have been detected for a particular period.

About the Author –

Holly Clark has been working in the care industry for 5+ years as a project coordinator. She regularly blogs about both the personal and practical challenges of caring and is always actively working on producing informative content. Holly is currently writing for Firstcare.

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A Vaccine for Dementia? Join Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio for this Conversation

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio 

with Dr Ajay Verma

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 at 2pm EST, 1pm CST, 12pm MST, 11am PST

and 7pm London

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Dr. Ajay Verma, Chief Medical Officer at United Neuroscience will join Lori La Bey host of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio.  They will discuss current therapies for dementia and the possible benefits of a vaccine vs. an antibody approach for treatment.  Dr. Verma will explain how United Neuroscience vaccine is different from other vaccines and why he finds hope in their process. Last, they will wrap up with how families and those diagnosed can get involved in finding new treatments for dementia.  Call in and join the conversation!

 

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Driving, Dementia and Today’s Technology

Driving, Dementia and Today’s Technology

By Michael Ellenbogen

Michael behind the wheel

In 2010 I was thinking of buying a new car but I did not want to invest the money as I was not sure how much longer I would be able to drive. I live with dementia, and I feared I would need to stop driving any day. This went on for years and I was still able to drive. So I finally made the decision to buy a new car in 2013.

That was the best thing I could have done as the new technology helped make up for some of my skillsets that had weakened over the years. It not only improved my driving capabilities, it made me a much safer driver.

At the end of 2017 I had been reading about all the amazing new safety technologies that exist in some new cars. Knowing that these technologies would help make me a safer driver, I decided not to wait for more years to pass, and I went and bought a new car.

While I know not everyone can afford to do this, for those that can I highly recommend you look into using technology to your benefit if you are living with some type of dementia. The one problem I did run into was reading the new manuals and being able to apply the changes to the options. This time around it was much harder for me to read the manuals. My wife helps me greatly in setting it all up to insure it is set up the way I want it. While I may not be able to set it up I sure know how to use it is once it its set.

While there may be some features I will never know how to use, it is important to not fear making the change. This is the best thing I could have done, and I already love the safety features and how they are making driving so much easier.  This new car will allow me to drive much longer than I would have been capable of driving in my old car. I also had to limited my night time driving in the recent years as I had difficulty seeing the road at night. This new car changed that and I now feel very comfortable driving at night. I only wish the self-driving cars were available. I was also very surprised as I was able to still negotiate a great deal. I actually saved over $2,600 on the asking price. This disease is really amazing on how some skills are so impacted and yet others still work with some extra help.

Below are some of the safety features from Toyota. While the vehicle has these features, it is important to insure some of them are turned on in order to function the way they are intended to.

Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) – Helps prevent brakes from locking. The ABS monitors the speed of each wheel to detect locking. When it detects sudden braking, it will release braking pressure for a moment and then provide optimum braking pressure to each wheel. By repeating this process in a short period of time, it enhances steering control during sudden stops. As a result, it will also help improve the ability of stopping the vehicle.

Automatic High Beams (AHB) – is designed to help you see more clearly at night without blinding other drivers. Designed to activate at speeds above 25 mph, AHB rely on an in-vehicle camera to help detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and taillights of preceding vehicles, then automatically toggle between high and low beams accordingly to provide the appropriate amount of light. By using high beams more frequently, the system may allow earlier detection of pedestrians and obstacles.

Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan – allows for drivers to check their surroundings with a full 360-degree view of their vehicle before pulling into a small parking spot or pulling up next to a curb. It provides a panoramic, seamless image in high definition that leaves no room for mistakes. With this system, drivers can rest assured knowing they’ll be able to detect any hazards before it’s too late. It uses cameras strategically mounted around the vehicle to give drivers.

Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) – indicator light up in the outside mirrors and hear a tone to confirm that the system has been engaged. When a vehicle in the next lane enters your blind spot on either side, the indicator will light up in that side view mirror. If you signal a lane change in that direction while the vehicle is still there, the indicator will flash to get your attention.

Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology – This technology can sense when you hit the brakes in an emergency situation and apply even more force to help you stop faster and avoid a collision. The Smart Stop Technology automatically stops the vehicle when both the accelerator and the brake pedal is pressed at the same time, just in case you need to bring your new Toyota to a quick stop!

Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) – is intended for highways and similar to “constant speed” cruise control, DRCC lets you drive at a preset speed. DRCC uses vehicle-to-vehicle distance control, which adjusts your speed, to help you maintain a preset distance from vehicles ahead of you that are driving at a slower speed. DRCC uses a front-grille-mounted radar and an in-vehicle camera to detect vehicles and their distance. If a driver is traveling slower than you, or within your preset range, DRCC will automatically slow your vehicle down without deactivating cruise control. If DRCC determines you need to slow down more, an audio and visual alert notifies you and brakes are applied. When there’s no longer a vehicle driving slower than your set speed in front of you, DRCC will then accelerate and regular cruise control will resume.

Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) is incorporated in Toyota’s ABS technology.  EBD helps keep a vehicle more stable and balanced when braking.  During an abrupt stop, momentum can cause a vehicle to tilt forward, reducing the brake force of the rear tires.  EBD responds by redistributing brake force.  Wheels with more braking effectiveness receive more brake force and wheels with less effectiveness receive less brake force, helping to prevent brake lockup.  EBD is especially helpful when carrying cargo.  Sensors recognize the extra load the cargo puts on the rear axle, so brake pressure on the rear wheels is increased because the extra weight improves braking effectiveness.

Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) – Helps prevent wheels from slipping sideways when cornering or sudden steering. VSC is a system that helps prevent side skids and help stabilize the vehicle while turning on a curve. When the vehicle senses a loss of traction or a slip, braking is automatically applied to all 4 individual wheels and engine power is reduced to help secure the safety of the vehicle. For example, if the steering wheel refuses to turn from over-speeding (under-steering), the vehicle will take control to steer toward the inner curve. Also, when the vehicle begins to spin from abrupt steering handling (over-steering), the vehicle will take control to steer toward the outer curve.

Front and Rear Parking Sonar – When your speed drops below 6 miles an hour, the sonar graphic will appear in the Multi-Information Display and you’ll hear beeping to warn you that the system senses another vehicle or obstacle very close to vehicle. If the transmission is in Drive, only the front sensors activate. When you shift into Reverse, both the front and rear sensors come online. The speed of the warning tone and color of the graphic will give you an idea of how close you are. A constant tone and red indicator means you are very close.

Lane Departure Alert (LDA) – Under certain circumstances, LDA is designed to detect lane departure on roads with clear markings. LDA only activates when you’re traveling at a speed of 32 mph or faster. When you hear and see the alert, after carefully checking the road around you, you should safely direct your vehicle back to the center of your lane.

Pre-Collision System (PCS) – Uses an integrated camera and laser or radar to help detect other vehicles in front of you. It can prompt you to take action using audio and visual alerts if it determines a frontal collision is likely. If you notice the potential collision and apply the brakes, PCS may apply additional force using Brake Assist (BA). If you don’t brake in time, PCS may automatically apply the brakes for you, helping to minimize the likelihood of a frontal collision or reduce its severity.

Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) – Using an in-vehicle camera and radar to help detect a vehicle or a pedestrian in front of you, the PCS w/PD can help you mitigate or avoid a potential collision. If the system determines that a frontal collision is likely, it prompts you to take action using audio and visual alerts. If you notice the potential collision and apply the brakes, PCS w/PD may apply additional force using Brake Assist (BA). If you don’t brake in time, it may automatically apply the brakes to reduce your speed, helping to minimize the likelihood of a frontal collision or reduce its severity.

Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RTCA) – helps when you’re backing out from a parking space, and the vehicle is in reverse and speed is less than 5 MPH. It detects vehicles approaching from the right or left rear traveling between 5 and 18 MPH. If the system senses cross traffic, it warns you by flashing the side near indicators and sounding a warning tone.

Traction Control (TRC) – Helps prevent wheel slippage when the vehicle is starting or accelerating on wet or slippery roads. When you are starting the vehicle, or accelerating on a wet surface, you could lose control of the wheel because of wheel spin. TRC will help prevent such events from happening. TRC continually monitors the condition between the tires and the surface of the road. When it detects wheel spin, the system applies brakes or slows down the engine to regulate spinning and help ensure proper contact of tires. This help prevents the car from becoming unstable. There might be the cases in which the half-side of the wheel runs off or the wheels spin off on the snowy road. And also there might be the case that the current traction control might not be working well. In those cases, Auto LSD is one of the technologies which both improve start ability and run ability.

Source: www.toyota.com

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Dementia, Driving and Technology

Dementia, Driving and Technology

with Michael Ellenbogen

on Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio

On Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2018, Lori La Bey host of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio will interview Michael Ellenbogen a man who has been living with a diagnosis of dementia. Michael is an international advocate who has made major contributions in shifting our dementia care, speaking at NAPA, the World Health Conference in Geneva and so many other sessions including congressional.  Michael plans to leverage technology to extend his driving abilities. Join us for our conversation and hear about some of the latest new features available to drivers.

Michael Ellenbogen can be Reached at:

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Michael’s Book – From the Corner Office

 

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Chair Yoga For Dementia

Chair Yoga For Dementia

on Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio

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Stacie Dooreck was born vegetarian with a yogic upbringing and teaching yoga since 1994. She is author of SunLight Chair Yoga: yoga for everyone! books and DVD and created the SunLight Chair Yoga: yoga for everyone! teacher trainings. Stacie teaches for assisted-living homes, companies, libraries and community centers in Bay Area CA and teaches her chair yoga teacher trainings at various ashrams.

Order Stacie’s Book

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Contact Stacie Dooreck

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Email: info@sunlightyoga.com

Tel: 415.68.YOGA.8 (415.689.6428)

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Today we had an interesting conversation regarding communication.  You will here from those diagnosed and what they think about all the tips given by “Professionals” to communicate with them.  You will gain insights which will help you care better.  Learn how their senses change, how their emotions and behaviors are affect by their surroundings and how that impacts them in their daily living.

Thank You To Our Experts Living With Dementia:

Michael Ellenbogen, Paulan Gordon, Truthful Loving Kindness, Brian LeBlanc, Laurie Scherrer, Mary Howard, Susan Suchan and Harry Urban

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Libraries Offer Memory Minders: A Kit for Caregivers!

Now available at

Ramsey County Library in Roseville and Shoreview:

Memory Minders: A Kit for Caregivers!

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 Memory Minders are specially created for caregivers

caring for people experiencing memory loss

MMkits_2The materials in these kits are specifically selected to spark memories, create conversation and provide positive and engaging interactions between people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and their care partners. The kits are divided into high, middle and low activity levels.

Each Memory Minder kit is unique and features an interactive activity for use with those with memory loss (such as a puzzle, bingo, games or conversation cards), a book with colorful illustrations created for individuals with memory loss, a cd with music to soothe and spark memory, and A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia by Laura Gitlin, which explores the use of activities and other techniques to prevent, reduce and otherwise manage the behavioral symptoms of dementia.

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The Memory Minder Kits are available at the Ramsey County Library in Roseville and Shoreview, and be checked out for three weeks. The kits are renewable and requestable via the library’s catalog at www.rclreads.org.

These kits were created out of a unique partnership between:

Ramsey County Library, Roseville Alzheimer’s & Demential Community Action Team, and sponsorships by Cherrywood Pointe, Lyngblomsten, Sunrise Senior Living, New Perspectives Senior Living, and the Friends of Ramsey County Library.

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Ramsey County Library – Shoreview

4560 Victoria St. N.

Shoreview, MN 55126

651-724-6006

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Technology & APPs For Those Living With Dementia

Technology & APPs

For Those Living With Dementia

By Michael Ellenbogen

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I was once at the leading edge of technology, and I knew that as my Alzheimer’s progressed I would need some type of GPS so I could be located if I wandered off, but those products are expensive with very few added benefits.

Over the years many technology companies had reached out to me and asked my opinion on various applications that were being created to help those with dementia. The one thing they all had in common was that people with dementia were not part of the design process. Usually it was just one caregiver that gave the input. I already knew there were thousands of free apps for other applications so I had assumed there were many for folks living with dementia.

Well, I was wrong. I knew people with dementia took a back seat on most things, but this one took me by surprise. When I searched I could only find things for caregivers and very few of them. While there are many apps available that may help me they are not easy enough to figure out for many of us. Hell, I cannot even figure out what to chose on a menu, let alone start to analyze apps. That is just no possible anymore.

So someone needs to decide which ones are best for us to use. They all need to be under on umbrella with simple applications connecting them all together, which makes it super easy for someone to use and that they all work in a similar function so one does not need to learn how to use them all individually.

These applications will allow people like me to be able to stay more engaged in society for a much longer time. They will help us keep safe and even lower the stress levels for our caregivers. We will not only have our independence longer, we will feel that we still have a purpose with the help of these tools. It would be great if all functions can work by using voice commands. Let me give you some examples.

I always paid the check at a restaurant. I have not done that for many years now for fear of getting it wrong, which has happened when I am alone and have had no choice. I did download a calculator app for my new phone, which, by the way, does not ask for a password and uses my fingerprint to allow me the access. That is how we should be thinking. Extreme simplicity.

While the app I loaded would be great for the average person it is not great for a person with dementia. It would need a few extra features and to operate in a more simple way. First of all, when calculating a tip it should be based on the total minus the tax. So it should prompt me for that. Tipping is not as straightforward as this calculator makes it seem. The first decision one needs to make is what percentage to use. Usually 15% or 20%. But then again that depends on were you are in the world, so it should have something that identifies were you are to determine that. Then there needs to be a function so one can decide how much to give. Let’s say, for instance, the service was not good, there should be a few categories to select from and it will formulate the correct dollar amount related to their service performance. These are what come to mind: worst service and food ever, good food and bad service, or service was okay and food was okay. Service was great and food was okay, or everything was fabulous. Each one of these selections will have a preset dollar amount based on the total. One should not tip based on the alcohol consumed. While it may be okay when you buy a low-price bottle of wine, just think if the person paid for a $300 bottle of wine. They do not tip the same and that is something that should be considered.  Then the last thing it should have is a function to round it off, up or down, giving the exact number. This is just one example, but it needs to be made very easy.

Some other things that are needed.

Reminders that not only work on our smartphones but synchronize with our home PCs. It should have function for meds with day and time flexibility. One should be able to easily have recurring meetings times, pills, daily tasks and reminders, etc.

GPS is the key to our survival, and it should have two main modes. Walk and drive. It should be simple with clear, large icons to start the process. I need simple directions on how to get to my end point. It should be able to choose to start with my uploaded location. The directions given should have multiple levels of repetition and queuing depended on the level of selectivity. Some folks may need a lot more while others just need to hear it once. There are many other features that are needed but a few that should have a separate icon are:

Home – It would automatically tell me how to get home from where I am. Find me options for public transportation if I choose it.

Emergency – Automatic connection to a list of selected people who can immediately see my location and establish direct video or voice connection.

Where did I park my car? – This may have a picture snap shot of the parking signs and also pull in GPS coordinates to help guide me back. So if I push these options it will take me back to the location of my car.

Hotel – What is the location of my hotel? Picture and GPS location stored.

Other functions tied to GPS:

Locate a place to eat based on price or type of restaurant or mileage from existing location or override with my own information.

Find the lowest price gas station and location in the area.

Police – Automatic connection to the nearest police dispatch with location with a message indicating needing help and has dementia.

Fire

Hospital – Nearest to me.

Pharmacy – Locations in the area along with contact information of my pharmacy if needed.

Should be able to search by other type of service.

The caregiver should also have access to track my cell phone by computer or app on their cell phone. Should be able to have multiple levels of GEO fencing.  In some cases the alarms should also go to the person with dementia.

Not sure if this is possible, but if one can have RFID tags on luggage that can be found within a  hundred feet and some kind of counter for the strength of the signal.

Instant video and voice recorder and store files so I can leave message to myself or record what someone is saying.

A price compare app that instantly checks out the best price available for a scanned in UPC.

Allow to send emails by speaking. Able to read text to you.

Have direct important emails pop on screen if sent by caregiver if important.

A secure file for medical records or financial information.

Easy Time Converter based on your location

Reminders or alarms need to have option for a voice stating name of person with dementia (to get their attention), what they need to do (in addition to text on screen) and then which device is speaking and how to turn it off.  It would be good if the device had the ability to use a loved one’s voice so the device could use that person’s voice to prevent the person with dementia feeling an invisible if there are strangers in the room with them.

Have listing of medical conditions and medicines readily available.

Contact information for caregiver/partner.

Having pertinent information on an app so anyone who might find a wandering person can contact the relevant people. Personally, I carry an identification card that includes my name, the fact that I have dementia and may need some additional help, and a contact name and phone number.  This is something you could show a vendor or other person if you have trouble while out by yourself.

Voice response.

Large buttons.

Forced response to turn off.

Can locate areas that are quiet and dementia friendly for those of us who can no longer filter noise.

These are just some of the things I believe are needed. I am sure there are many more with a lot more detail that I am providing. I welcome the opportunity to work with interested parties.

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