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Navigating Dementia Care with GPS Tags and Emerging Technologies


Home carer helping elderly lady with her mobile phone

At Access Care, with our years of dedicated experience in providing home care for our clients with dementia, we recognise the unique challenges faced by those living with the condition and their families. 


Navigating the landscape of dementia care requires not only compassion and understanding but also innovative solutions. With this in mind, GPS tags and emerging technologies have emerged as invaluable tools, offering newfound freedoms and peace of mind. 


The beauty of these new technologies is that they allow us to keep our loved ones safe, ensuring they can enjoy their independence for as long as possible, while also giving families the assurance that their loved ones are secure. 


Exploring technology & dementia

Our aim in this discussion is to explore how these modern solutions can be seamlessly integrated into the care we provide, be that as a live-in carer caring for a client, or a family member looking after a loved one, they can really enhance the lives of those with dementia.

Caring for a family member with dementia, especially when you are taking a home care approach, is a deeply personal and often challenging experience. 

Each day can be a new puzzle, a unique set of challenges and joys that call for an unwavering commitment to providing the best care, while navigating through changing behavioural patterns. However, the rise of sophisticated solutions like GPS tags and cutting-edge technologies is adding a layer of support that wasn't as readily available a decade ago, transforming both the home care landscape and the quality of life for individuals living with dementia.


Understanding Dementia

Before we explore further the technological solutions at our disposal, it's important to have a foundational understanding of what dementia is. 

Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an overall term — like heart disease — that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. It is characterised by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking skills that affects a person's ability to perform everyday activities. 

At Access Care, as a local live in care agency with over 30 years’ experience of providing home care for clients with dementia, we understand that the signs and symptoms can vary greatly among individuals, but typically they include:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events, asking for the same information over and over.

  • Challenges in planning or solving problems, manifesting in difficulties following a familiar recipe, keeping track of monthly bills, or taking longer to do tasks than before.

  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or leisure, including trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering the rules of a favourite game.

  • Confusion with time or place, such as losing track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time.

  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, which can lead to difficulty reading, judging distance, and determining colour or contrast.

  • New problems with words in speaking or writing, noticeable in trouble following or joining a conversation and struggling with vocabulary, finding the right word, or naming objects.

  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps, resulting in placing things in unusual places, potentially accusing others of stealing.

  • Decreased or poor judgement, visible in attention to grooming, financial decisions, and social interaction.

  • Withdrawal from work or social activities, due to struggles with keeping up with a favourite hobby or sports, avoiding social situations because of the changes they’ve experienced.

  • Changes in mood and personality, including confusion, suspicion, depression, fear, or anxiety.


Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing dementia and its specific type involves a thorough examination, which may consist of:

  • Cognitive tests to check memory, problem-solving, and other mental skills.

  • Neurological evaluations to check balance, senses, and reflexes.

  • Brain scans, such as CT or MRI, to look for causes of symptoms.

While there is currently no cure for most types of dementia, treatments can slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life for those living with the condition and their caregivers. Treatment options include:

  • Medications to temporarily improve symptoms or slow their progression.

  • Cognitive stimulation therapies to engage and stimulate thinking skills.

  • Lifestyle changes and heart-healthy practices to delay cognitive decline, including exercise, a balanced diet, cognitive training, and social engagement.

Understanding the multidimensional impact of dementia is crucial in finding the most effective management strategies for each individual, integrating both the medical approach and the benefits of emerging technologies.


What is In-Home Dementia Care?

Home care is a comprehensive care option where a dedicated home carer resides in the home of the person needing assistance, providing 24-hour live in care support and companion care

This kind of care is particularly beneficial for individuals with conditions like dementia, where familiarity with the environment and personalised, constant care can greatly enhance their quality of life.



How a Live-In Carer Can Help Someone with Dementia


Below we have detailed how a home carer can help and enhance the quality of life of someone who is living with dementia. Of course as an experienced local live in care agency we know that each client and their needs are different, but typically our home carers tend to help with the following;

  • Constant Companionship: Companion care reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation, offering emotional support and encouraging engagement in social activities.

  • Personalised Live-in Care: Tailored support according to the individual's needs, preferences, and routines, adapting as the condition evolves.

  • Safety Supervision: Ensures a safe living environment, helping prevent accidents or injuries and offering peace of mind to family members.

  • Medication Management: Live-in carers can assist with the correct and timely intake of medications, track prescriptions and coordinate with healthcare providers.

  • Help with Daily Living Activities: Assistance with personal hygiene, dressing, eating, and mobility, fostering independence while ensuring their well-being.

  • Support with Nutrition and Exercise: Home Carers can cook up healthy meals tailored to dietary needs and encourage regular physical activity suited to their ability level.

  • Cognitive Stimulation: Engages the individual in intellectual, creative, and sensory activities designed to stimulate cognitive functions and maintain mental agility.

  • Coordination of Healthcare Appointments: Manages schedules, provides transportation, and accompanies the individual to medical appointments, ensuring consistency in healthcare management.

  • Respite for Family Members: Offers family members a much-needed break, helping them avoid carer burnout and maintain their health and well-being.

A live-in carer becomes a trusted ally, not only in taking on the day-to-day responsibilities of caring but also in building a meaningful relationship with the person they are supporting. 

This partnership enables individuals with dementia to live as independently as possible, preserving their dignity and enhancing their quality of life amidst the challenges of their condition.


The Advent of GPS Tags in the Dementia Care Toolbox

GPS tags have revolutionised how families manage the safety of their loved ones with dementia. These innovative devices provide real-time tracking, alerts for when a patient leaves a designated area, and a quick way to locate a missing person. 

A GPS Tag enables a level of freedom for people allowing them to go for walks, attend supervised group activities, or simply enjoy their garden, without the constant physical supervision that is often impossible for family members or live-in carers to maintain.

When out and about, the GPS technology coupled with a smartphone application can ensure that the individual is easily located should they lose their way. 

Real-life accounts of family members finding their loved ones miles away from home and in distress, only due to the alerts and tracking provided by GPS tags, illustrate the profound impact of this technology on personal safety.

GPS tags are not just about tracking, though. They also serve as familiarity anchors, wherein a patient can wear a wristband carrying memories or images from their past, which can be activated to remind them of who they are and that they are loved. This context can have a calming effect during episodes of confusion or anxiety.

However, reliance on technology alone is not the answer. 

While GPS tags are a brilliant tool, the human element of in home dementia care must be the driver of the day-to-day routine. It is the bond between the patient and the home carer, the understanding of unspoken needs, and the provision of love and compassion that truly sustains the spirit of home care.


Technological Innovations for Personalised Dementia Care

Beyond GPS, a plethora of technological tools now aid in day-to-day management of dementia care. 

  • Smart home technology can create an environment that adjusts to the person, rather than demanding the person adapt to their surroundings. 

  • Lights can dim on a timer as the evening approaches, mirroring the natural setting of the sun. 

  • Thermostats can maintain a comfortable temperature. 

  • Sensors can detect opened windows or doors, and pressure pads under carpets can signal to the carer when the patient has gotten out of bed or not moved for a prolonged period, which might indicate a fall or other issue.



Enhancing Communication for People with Dementia

One of the significant challenges faced by individuals with dementia is the gradual loss of communication abilities. This evolution can be distressing not only for the person with dementia but also for their families and home carers. 

Technological innovations have presented new avenues to bridge this communication gap, fostering connections and understanding despite the challenges.

  • Voice-assisted technology: Devices equipped with voice recognition can enable individuals with dementia to perform tasks, set reminders, or call for help using simple voice commands. This ability provides them a sense of independence, reducing frustration and anxiety associated with forgetfulness or inability to communicate needs effectively.

  • Interactive touch screens and tablets: These devices can run applications designed specifically for dementia care, offering games, music, and activities that stimulate cognitive abilities and memory. Additionally, they can display photos and videos from the person's past, helping to anchor them in their identity and facilitate conversation with home carers and family members about their life stories.

  • Communication aids: Simple, intuitive apps that use pictograms or symbols can help individuals express their needs, preferences, or feelings when words become hard to find. This visual method of communication can significantly reduce misunderstandings and ensure that the care provided aligns with the person's current desires and comfort level.

The integration of technology in dementia care not only enhances safety and communication but also significantly impacts emotional well-being and social interaction. In an era where distance or health precautions may limit physical visits, technology offers alternative means to maintain connections.

  • Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences: VR technology can transport individuals with dementia to different places or times, offering them a unique form of escapism and relaxation. Whether revisiting their childhood home or exploring a new destination, these experiences can spark joy and reduce feelings of isolation or stress.

  • Social Media and Video Calls: Platforms that enable video calling have become vital in keeping families connected. Live in carers can facilitate video chats, allowing individuals with dementia to see and interact with their loved ones, fostering a sense of belonging and community despite physical distances.

Incorporating these advanced technologies into the live in care plan of someone with dementia should always be done with consideration and empathy. It's crucial to balance the use of technological aids with human interaction and personal care. 

Each individual's needs and preferences are different, and what works for one person may not suit another. Therefore, personalisation of care becomes very important. Home carers and family members must observe and understand the unique responses and behaviours of their loved ones towards these technologies to effectively integrate them into daily routines.


Training in technology for Dementia

Training and education for live-in carers on the use of these technologies can enhance their effectiveness. 

It's not only about implementing the tools but also about understanding how they can be used to improve the quality of life for those with dementia. 

This approach ensures that technology serves as a complement to traditional methods of care, augmenting the emotional, physical, and mental support provided by home carers.

The ultimate goal is to create an environment where individuals with dementia feel safe, understood, and connected. Through the thoughtful application of technology, combined with compassion and empathy from home carers, we can revolutionise the approach to dementia care, making significant strides towards bettering the lives of those affected by this condition and their families.

By adopting these technological tools, home carers can provide a more comprehensive approach to in-home dementia care, addressing not just the physical and cognitive challenges, but also ensuring emotional support and social inclusivity. 

This holistic approach is crucial in enhancing the quality of life for individuals living with dementia, offering them dignity, respect, and the joy of human connection. 

These technological aids, when used thoughtfully and ethically, supplement the care provided by dedicated live-in care professionals and loving family members, making a considerable difference in the lives of those affected by dementia.


A more responsive and supportive environment

By integrating these technologies into the care strategy, home carers can create a more responsive and supportive environment for individuals with dementia. 

This approach not only enhances the quality of dementia care at home but also supports the emotional well-being of everyone involved, reinforcing the importance of empathy, dignity, and respect in the caregiving relationship.

Medication reminders, in the form of automated pill dispensers that alert the client when it is time to take their medication, are a sophisticated yet simple way to ensure proper dosages are taken at the right time. 

Meanwhile, emergency response systems connect to 24-hour monitoring services, offering a lifeline in urgent situations where the home carer may need assistance beyond their means.

These technological innovations are like a silent partner, allowing the family member or live-in carer to focus less on the constant vigilance required and more on building meaningful experiences with the patient, promoting a higher quality of life for all involved.


A Sneak Peek into the Future

The future of dementia care at home will be an ongoing mix of advancing technology and compassionate human care. 

Innovations such as virtual reality, application software that provides visual cues for daily tasks, and telemedicine for remote monitoring of patients are on the horizon, promising even more comprehensive support for individuals with dementia and their live-in carers.

Continuous advancements in GPS technology are making devices more discreet, with longer battery lives, and integrations with other wearables that monitor vital signs or recognize patterns of behaviour that may indicate distress. 

We are on the cusp of a world where technology can not only track but predict and provide the necessary interventions to ensure the safety and well-being of dementia patients.

Yet, even as we hurtle towards these new ways of operating, it is the warmth of the human touch that will continue to be the core of dementia care. 

Technology may be the GPS, but the live-in carer remains the navigator, the driver, and the anchor that ensures the well-being of the person they dedicate their days to.


Collaboration between the Carer and Technology

In this evolving narrative of dementia care, the collaboration between live-in carers and technological tools is essential, but equally important is the ongoing education and support for those home carers. 

They must stay abreast of technological advancements and understand how to effectively integrate these tools into their caregiving practices. 

Live-in carers should have access to training programs that not only enlighten them on the mechanics of new devices but also on how these innovations can enhance the therapeutic relationship between them and those they care for.

Fostering a community of support amongst relatives and live-in carers allows for the sharing of experiences, strategies, and insights. Peer support groups, whether online or in person, can be invaluable in providing emotional sustenance, as well as practical advice. 

These communities can act as forums for discussing the challenges of dementia care, from navigating fluctuating emotional landscapes to integrating new technological solutions effectively.


How Access Care Helps People Living With Dementia

As a local live in care agency that is well versed in providing live in carers to support those living with dementia, we recognise that every person’s dementia journey is unique.  

Our care options are tailored to meet the specific needs and preferences of each in-home dementia care client. Whether it's assisting with exercises, accompanying to medical appointments, or simply providing a listening ear, our live-in carers are dedicated to promoting the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of those in our care. 

With 24 hour live in care from our compassionate live-in carers, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in capable and caring hands. 

If you have a relative or loved one who could benefit from the support of a live-in carer, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.


You can call us on 01264 319399 or email hello@access-care.co.uk to learn more about how we can assist you. As a home care client of ours, you can trust that one of our home carers will provide you 24 hour live in care tailored to meet your individual needs. Let us be your partner in care, supporting you every step of the way.


Nurturing with Knowledge and Compassion

The inclusion of GPS tags and emerging technologies in dementia care at home or elsewhere brings an era of increased independence and safety for patients. 

These tools are not designed to replace the crucial role of live-in carers, but to empower them in their mission to provide the best care possible. 

They stand testament to the fact that the best home care for individuals with dementia is a blend of cutting-edge technology and the comforting presence of a dedicated home carer in the very personal environment of home.

For individuals and families dealing with dementia, exploring the available assistive technologies and considering the role they can play in ensuring the well-being of their loved ones should be a priority. The goal is not just to extend the years but to fill them with life. It is to provide care that does not just ensure safety, but also sustains comfort and joy.


We should try and embrace new tools to create a world where individuals with dementia can thrive in the familiarity of their own homes. In this age of advancing technology, we have incredible opportunities to provide our ageing loved ones with the dignity and quality of life they truly deserve.


When family members or home carers join forces with technology to support dementia care, it creates a beautiful partnership rooted in human connection. This collaboration between technology and dedicated live-in carers offers a guiding light for those navigating the challenges of dementia.


6 comentários


Convidado:
19 de abr.

It is fascinating how assistive and adaptive technology can and is making such a difference to the lives of people living with dementia in their own homes. This can only be enhanced by the wonderful care provided by live-in carers and Access Care have many wonderful live-in carers with a wealth of experience in providing holistic dementia care to clients who wish to remain living in their own home.

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Convidado:
18 de abr.

Super ways in which those living with dementia can keep themselves safe and their loved ones minds at rest. Access Care's register Live in carer's who are able to provide live in care support and help engage these new technologies when providing care and companionship to relatives loved ones.

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Convidado:
18 de abr.

With Access Care's considerable experience over the past 30 years of live in care for those living with dementia they have seen how technology has improved lives. This is an interesting arlicle and while tech is helping, the biggest difference is having the quality of care and attention than live in care provides. Access Care recently attended the opening of the new dementia centre in Alton, Hampshire where a deicated group of volenteers are there to help those living with dementia and their carers.

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Convidado:
18 de abr.

For those living with dementia there are some innovative and invaluable technology options which will help to keep them safe whilst retaining their independence for as long as possible and giving reassurance to their families who cannot be present 24/7. Access Care have written an insightful article and can provide Live-In carers nationwide to support those who wish to continue to live in the familiar surroundings of their own home following a dementia diagnosis.

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Convidado:
18 de abr.

I know many live-in carers rely on technology for so many different aspects of their jobs particularly with dementia patients technology can be transformative

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