Dementia

There are a number of ways to support patients and their carers in the early stages of dementia. One gadget which has made a difference to patients with early dementia has been the Autographer camera, which is a camera suspended on a lanyard around the neck, and which takes photographs when stimulated by sound or movement.

Each evening, the patient needs to download the photos to a laptop, and put the camera on charge. The next day the photos can be viewed on the laptop, helping to remind the patient of activities, places and people encountered the previous day. In order to ensure the technical downloading of pictures, charging of the camera etc are carried out, reminders are sent to the patients via Flo, along with other tips on managing with a poor memory. The results have been very positive, with all patients improving their well-being, and some re-starting employment. Below are patients discussing the use of Flo and the Autographer.

Maintaining a good blood supply to the brain is central to the medical treatment, so lifestyle changes supported by Flo are useful, addressing weight reduction, smoking cessation, alcohol reduction, and increased exercise. Reminders can be set up in Flo to tell patients when their medication is due to be taken, and the messages can be altered to help them in aspects of daily life, such as ‘It’s time to have your tea’ or ‘It’s Wednesday – don’t forget to put the recycling bins out for collection.’

There are a number of Flo protocols in the ‘resources’ section for you to choose from or adapt.

Websites such as Dementia UK , Alzheimers UK, and NHS: Dementia can help both patients and their families

Apps such as MyTherappy may be useful ; ‘Game Show’ helped a number of people with mild cognitive impairment to improve their memory as well as increased their enjoyment of playing a game. Many small projects are using virtual reality glasses for people with dementia who would otherwise be unable to experience situations because of their physical frailty.

Carers are often poorly supported as they struggle to cope with the changes in a relative, due to their dementia.

Closed Facebook groups would be a useful forum for many carers to share concerns, receive support, and to complain to others about their situation, and receive reassurance. There is a video below showing how closed Facebook groups have been used for patients with atrial fibrillation and with Multiple Sclerosis, and this principle could easily be applied to other groups.

Patients may be reviewed by video consultation, such as Skype, where appropriate. See more information about Skype in ‘TECS in Use’.