10 easy to implement ways to use touch screen technology to engage sufferers of dementia
In theory, today’s families and seniors are more connected than ever before, but in many ways, they have never been more isolated. Seniors can be completely unaware of touch screen technology for dementia, while younger family members may avoid engaging because they feel uncomfortable.
In this article, we aim to broach the gap between how dementia sufferers and care residents utilise touch screen technology and younger family members to reduce confusion and frustration to increase connections and wellbeing overall.
By learning about caregiving through technology on a regular basis and applying it in your daily life, you can make sure that everyone receives the help they need as the world becomes more advanced around them.
Help your relative or care home residents stay connected to the outside world by taking advantage of all that modern-day technology has to offer. There is no reason why your senior cannot enjoy music, pictures and videos on a tablet or smartphone today if you know what you are doing.
Here are 10 easy to implement engagement methods using touch screen technology for dementia patients.
1. Use a phone, interactive table or tablet to show pictures of family members or old friends
Pictures are a great trigger for reminiscence. Use a touch screen tablet to sift through personal photos and videos or search online for places and things they used to love.
Simply use your devices native photo storage facility or sift through your images on social media platforms. Take this method to the next level by creating a photo book for them to leaf through offline.
2. Play music that the person enjoyed in their youth
Music is another great trigger for reminiscence. Play favourite tunes from the good old days. Search for the charts from their teens to late 20s and see what tunes they recognise. Some apps simulate musical instruments which can be fun and engaging especially if your relative or resident played an instrument in their youth.
Great apps for this are Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.
3. Show videos of places they loved to visit when they were younger, like the beach or favourite restaurant
Find videos of happy times or significant places and pop them on. One of the best apps for this is Google Earth and Street View. The large screens on interactive tables are perfect for any patient with diminished eyesight.
4. Encourage them to write down things about themselves and read them back later for reminiscing purposes
Writing in a journal has many benefits. Besides helping them organize their thoughts, it also helps them to remember details and the events from their past life. It can be used as a guide to help keep track of events to avoid triggers in the future.
If you do not want to write a long journal but still want to keep track of your day, Daylio might be a good option for you. You can put an entry at the end of every day in only two taps. There is space for notes if you want to write about your feelings or what happened that day.
5. Help them create a digital scrapbook with photos of memories from their past
A digital scrapbook allows them to express themselves in an easy way while also giving family members insight into what each patient may be feeling at any given time.
It can provide a wide variety of activities without the need of having to look after paper and pens, which can be difficult with diminished dexterity or arthritic fingers and wrists.
Creating a digital memory book will allow you to use photos, videos, audio recordings, journals entries and more to tell the story of your relationship together. This allows you to create something beautiful together while keeping his or her mind active in the process! When they no longer have any recollection of who you are as time goes on this will become a priceless heirloom that future generations can enjoy forever.
6. Connect with them on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram so they can stay connected with friends and family
Care home residents are often isolated and lonely, which can cause depression. Social media offers a way for the patient to connect with others outside of their immediate circle.
The benefits of social media have been well documented in numerous studies conducted at prestigious universities such as Harvard University and Stanford University.
As a result, many healthcare providers are now recommending that residents use social media to help combat loneliness and depression caused by living with dementia symptoms. Additionally, family members may also benefit from using free social networking platforms like Facebook or Instagram to share photos and videos of their loved ones who suffer from this disease.
7. Increase stimulation by playing games on a tablet or interactive table
Residents with dementia are often left out of activities because they don’t remember what happened yesterday or even last week.
Digital games in care homes help residents improve their cognitive skills and keep them active in life through fun activities like puzzles, matching objects, completing mazes and matching colours while providing different levels of difficulty to challenge both young and old players alike!
We created a whole blog series on the best digital games and activities for dementia patients here.
8. Use a smartwatch or fitness tracker as a reminder system for medications, activities, and appointments
It can be very hard for dementia patients to keep up with their daily activities and appointments, especially in care homes.
Smartwatches and fitness trackers are the perfect solutions for this problem because they help sufferers stay on top of their day-to-day tasks, remain independent while also improving their health.
9. Puzzles and apps can assist with dexterity and movement and train the brain at the same time.
It can be very difficult for those with dementia to remember how to perform simple tasks like tying their shoes or using the remote control.
They may have difficulty performing basic daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing without assistance. This can make them feel frustrated and isolated, which then makes it harder for family members to care for them properly.
There are many digital apps that you can use in order to help improve dexterity by making things easier on the caregivers too! ‘Follow-along’ dance and exercise apps are some of the best, but with a little creativity, lots of other types can help. Here are a few of our favourites:
Finally, look for games that require them to engage with the screen such as Candy Crush or Bubble Pop, both are huge favourites in care homes.
10. Audiobooks on touch screen technology for dementia
It’s easy to forget other great devices such as Kindles and E-Readers, but Audiobooks and podcasts are an easy way for dementia patients to enjoy literature and other forms of entertainment again. Many older adults have stopped reading because they can no longer remember words easily, but listening to free audiobooks allows them to be part of the literary world once again.
Audiobooks are also a great tool for caregivers who want their loved ones with memory loss to stay mentally stimulated and engaged in activities that will help delay cognitive decline as much as possible while still enjoying themselves at the same time.
Audible is probably the best-known audiobook platform, but audiobooks can also be accessed through Spotify, Google Play and AudioBooks.com
SerialBox provides shorter versions of audiobooks which may be better for some people.
We hope you found this article helpful and now have a few new ideas for how to engage your dementia patients with touch screen technology at home and in care homes.
If you enjoyed this article, check out How to hack your client’s happy hormones with an interactive touchscreen table.
Our goal is to help people who suffer from dementia get as much enjoyment out of life as possible. If you need more information about any of the products we mentioned, including interactive tables for dementia please contact us!