Resources for Seniors with DementiaMar 22, 2023
Resources for Seniors with Dementia
By: Generationally Prepared
With the process of aging comes certain disabilities; from motor impairment to general health complications, Seniors often face specific hurdles that can be a barrier to work through as a Caregiver. One of the most challenging interpersonally is dementia. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, approximately 55 million people worldwide live with dementia. While dementia is an umbrella term describing various brain disorders, Alzheimer’s being one of them, common hallmarks of the disease are memory loss, decline in cognition and problem-solving, decreased judgment and decision-making skills, and changes in language and behavior. These symptoms can be distressing for both you and your Senior, and a management care plan should be formulated by both you and a skilled professional. This guide is a collection of different resources for helping your Senior through their day-to-day life as they may experience symptoms. These supports can make the journey with dementia, while difficult, less harrowing. Be sure to look at other resources from Generationally Prepared to address other difficulties with dementia, from self-care to financial preparations.
One of the best resources for both you as Caregiver and your Senior are the offerings of different support groups. There are several organizations dedicated to assisting some of the hurdles that come with caring for someone with dementia. Below is a list of some of the top groups in the nation.
The Alzheimer Association is a free organization that provides both in-person and virtual meeting places for Caregivers and those suffering from dementia. They also offer specialized groups for early diagnosis. They also have ALZ connected, an online community space for Caregivers navigating the best path forward.
LEWY BODY DEMENTIA ASSOCIATION
Lewy Body Dementia is caused by protein deposits in nerve cells that affect cognition. The Lewy Body Dementia Association is an organization that has a host of educational materials and provides support groups. Most are virtual and can be found here. Meetings are free, and they also have a Facebook group with meetings that can be attended virtually.
Dementia Mentors is an online organization that provides one-on-one guidance from people diagnosed with dementia for your Senior. They also offer memory café meetings frequently every month, a space for your Senior to talk about anything they want, from their journey with dementia to a book they’ve enjoyed recently. It’s all focused on stimulating conversation and connection between Seniors that have been diagnosed. A mentor can be requested here, and more information on the memory cafés here.
ALZ Connected is a free online community providing online forums and virtual discussion groups for both caregivers and people with dementia. As previously mentioned, it’s powered by the Alzheimer’s Association. Friends and family members are also invited to participate. Be sure to check out the wealth of resources located on the Alzheimer’s Association website.
There’s an abundance of groups you can find from a cursory search on Facebook for other support groups, those with virtual meetups and different options to connect. Some groups are private, such as this one, with 57 thousand members, and they may ask some verification that you’re a caregiver or someone suffering from dementia. It’s worth looking into all the different available groups on your social media platform of choice to find an easy, streamlined way to stay in touch with people experiencing the same challenges.
Dementia Support Technology
There’s numerous products and resources to help your Senior with the sometimes-burdensome effects of dementia. Investing in a support system that can make their day-to-day easier will help them and you adjust to a style of living that provides as much independence for your Senior as possible. The following list highlights some of the most significant products available to assist and protect your loved one, however they may need to be looked after.
Smart speakers that can help your Senior with voice-activated commands if typing into a device has become difficult are Amazon’s Alexa devices, including the Echo Dot. With a variety of affordable options, your Senior can handle everything from messaging to music, and your Senior only needs to talk to it! They can also be connected to other smart devices in your home, to make things like turning on and off lights easier on your Senior if they’re alone.
Sometimes the memory required for simpler tasks like eating can be hard for people with dementia. Investing in a brightly-colored set of eating utensils like this one can help your Senior recall what each item does. They also have easy-to-grip handles if handling a fork or a spoon is challenging. If your Senior is prone to forgetting where they placed their drink, investing in a set of spill-proof cups is also appropriate. There’s additionally “scoop” plates that have non-slip bases to help keep the food in one place.
If your Senior has difficulty remembering who’s calling, or even has difficulty operating a standard smartphone or telephone, there’s adapted telephones that make the process simpler, like this offering. Featuring a loud ringer, large buttons, and a flashing light, your Senior will know there’s a call coming in. You can insert pictures of close contacts so your Senior can dial them from face-memory at the push of a button.
Did you know that current smart watch offerings also provide support for monitoring your Senior’s health, in addition to location services? Leading devices like the Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch provide options that can monitor heartbeat and blood oxygen levels, as well as analyze sleep patterns. They can also be used to call emergency services in the case of a fall. They provide location monitoring if your Senior is prone to wander.
TALKING PHOTO ALBUMS
If your Senior needs a quick guide to which medication to take with a photo prompt, a talking photo album may be perfect for them. Products like this one can help you create a visual manual to different key things your Senior may need to remember. Or it can be a nostalgic aid for helping your Senior remember key moments in their lives!
JIGSAW PUZZLES AND PLAYING CARDS
Keeping your Senior’s brain engaged is important to improving their daily quality of life and memory retention. A quick and fun way to do this is by purchasing a jigsaw puzzle made specifically for Seniors with dementia. Brightly colored and with not too many pieces, these puzzles will keep your Senior’s attention. If your Senior is comfortable with a standard pack of playing cards, getting a larger-print version will help them be able to join in some simpler games, like Go Fish or Old Maid.
GPS SMART SOLE
If your Senior tends to lose track of where they are and you want to be able to monitor their movements in the case of an emergency, then GPS Smart Sole is the product for you! They offer in-sole shoe solutions with a hidden and sealed insert (that’s waterproof) to be able to track their location. Updates are sent every five minutes to the cloud and can be recorded through an app downloadable to your phone. Their monthly service plan starts at $29.94 and can be purchased here.
It’s easy to lose track of things, and your Senior may need some extra assistance in making sure key items are always at hand. The Tile tracker is a way to virtually monitor the position of things you don’t want to forget. Compatible with Apple and Android devices, the Tile sticker attaches to your item and wirelessly updates its location. With just a push of a button, the Tile will ring so you can find anything from lost keys to a misplaced medicine bag. You can purchase your own Tile sticker here.
LARGE DISPLAY CLOCKS
Since keeping track of time may be a hurdle for your Senior, buying a clock with a large display is a perfect way to help them with their orientation. Options like this one even have programmable alarm options to help your Senior remember important events like taking medication. They clearly state the day, time of morning and night, and the month and year in a way your Senior can’t miss.
HERO PILL DISPENSER
If your Senior has difficulty remembering which medications to take, Hero is an award-winning smart pill dispenser, capable of handling up to a 90-day supply of 10 different medications at once. It has its own subsidiary app which has reminders and remote dispensing. It also may be covered by Medicare. Monthly plans start at $44.99 a month and can be ordered here.
If your Senior is comfortable using a smartphone or tablet, or even if you help them navigate it, the following list are some top apps to help your Senior improve their memory and stay engaged. While books and print versions of games may be fun, these apps bright colors and design should keep your Senior’s attention.
Lumosity is a brain-training app with over 100 million members. It targets memory, processing speed, and problem solving. They tailor your games and challenges specifically to your skill set—what you need to improve while training your strengths. Partnering with actual researchers, Lumosity’s methods are peer reviewed. There’s a free tier, and the full version costs $11.99 a month. To get started, click here.
AmuseIT is an app specifically designed to kickstart conversations with your Senior through fun quizzes. Featuring a stable interface (the design display doesn’t change unexpectedly) and running offline, this app is the perfect on-the-go way to keep your Senior engaged. Costing $4.99, it’s a perfect way to spark discussion without being a goal-oriented activity, something someone with dementia may have trouble with. It’s available on iPad and Android tablets only.
WORDS WITH FRIENDS
For the literary-minded senior, a fun way to improve linguistic ability and keep their puzzle-solving abilities as sharp as ever is Words with Friends. Free to download with a bright interface and a lot of colors, this app has plenty of entertainment value. If playing Scrabble physically is a challenge for your Senior, the online version might be perfect for them. It’s available for Apple and Android devices.
PEAK BRAIN TRAINING
Similar to Lumosity, Peak is a smart application that trains cognitive skills with fun games and mental workouts. It tracks your progress in-app and provides daily challenges to stay engaged. There’s a free tier, though the “Pro” version is only $4.99 a month.
We hope this guide is a good look into some of the resources available for the Senior struggling with dementia. There’s many free online guides to helping support your Senior, such as the resources from the Mayo Clinic. Finding the right tips and tricks can help make navigating this phase of life easier for the both of you. There are no one-size fits all approaches. It may be a challenging journey, but with the proper support, your Senior can remain as independent as possible.