Dementia care & living alone
TextCare home monitoring supports people living with dementia to stay living safely at home and maintain their independence.
Minimising risk with dementia technology
Having memory loss means that someone with dementia may forget where they are, where things are and how things work. This can mean that everyday activities such as switching lights on and off can easily be forgotten and create potential hazards, for example tripping in the dark. There are a number of technology solutions known as ‘assistive technology’ that may be able to help minimise risk in the home. These include automatic shut-off devices for gas and cookers, water isolation devices to prevent flooding, automatic lighting devices and telephone blockers to prevent nuisance calls. It is advisable to introduce technology as early as possible to ensure its success, as your loved one will have more time to get used to it before their dementia progresses.
How can TextCare help to minimise risk?
It may be difficult to determine what types of assistive technology will benefit someone living alone with dementia, particularly in the early stages. TextCare enables you to monitor and assess your loved one’s capabilities over time to gain a better perspective on how well they are coping. This can help you to decide what technology might be beneficial and where any extra help might be needed throughout the day or night. TextCare’s built-in light sensors for example, will indicate when lights are being switched on and off and when curtains are being drawn, so that you can establish whether automatic lighting devices are required. Sound sensors can indicate whether a TV or radio has been switched on or whether your loved one is spending long periods of time in silence. Temperature sensors can inform you if your loved one is in an environment that is too hot or cold.
Keeping safe at home
People living with dementia often have more accidents in the home because together with memory and judgement impairment, their sense of balance and ability to react quickly is reduced. It can therefore be beneficial to make a few simple changes in their home to reduce the risk of harm, even if they are not needed just yet. For example, fitting grab rails, installing ramps and rearranging or reducing furniture can help a person with dementia to navigate their home more easily and safely. It is important however that major changes are not made too quickly, as this can be alarming or upsetting.
How does TextCare support safety at home?
Although making changes in the home can significantly help to increase your loved one’s safety, there may always be some level of risk. Placing movement sensors around the home allows you to check that they are moving around normally whenever you need to, giving you instant peace of mind. In the event of a fall, a person with dementia may be unable to call for help and as a result, could be left unaided for a long period of time. TextCare’s Pendant Sensor can detects falls and immediately sends you a text message alarm, so that help can be obtained quickly. This means that it will be safer for a person with dementia to be at home alone.
Door security and accessibility
In order to maintain their independence as much as possible, it is important that someone living with dementia is given the freedom to move around their home, welcome guests and enter and leave when they would like to. However, this can mean that they are less secure and more vulnerable to harm.
Fitting signs to doors that are important for daily activities, such as the toilet, kitchen or fridge can help your loved one to navigate around their home. People with dementia often have problems with eyesight, so fitting brightly coloured signs at eye level will be the most beneficial.
Installing a video intercom system for your loved one’s front door may help them to identify who is calling before they open the door, helping to prevent unwanted visitors.
On occasion it may be necessary for friends, neighbours or family members to enter your loves one’s property. In which case, a key safe with a secure code could be installed to allow quick and easy access in an emergency.
Some people with dementia may have a need to walk about and leave their home, so it may be useful to set up an electronic reminding device by the front door so that your loved one remembers to take their keys, lock the door or even check that they are wearing a coat in cold weather.
How can TextCare help to enhance door security and accessibility?
When you can’t be with your loved one 24-hours a day, it can be difficult to establish whether they have been maintaining their wellbeing throughout the day. Not knowing whether they have visited the kitchen and fridge to get something to eat, or whether they have visited the bathroom for example, can be extremely worrying and lead to a greater risk of health problems. TextCare’s door sensors can be placed on any door around the home that you would like to monitor, giving you the ability to know what has been happening and eliminate the guesswork. As people living with dementia can have a tendency to wander out of their homes and become disoriented, TextCare door sensors are ideal for front and back doors. At any time that they are triggered, TextCare will alert you by text message so that you can take the appropriate action to prevent harm.
Support for you and your loved one
You may find it useful to seek guidance from dementia support groups such as the Alzheimer's Society in order to ensure that you are providing the best possible care to suit the needs of your loved one. If you are considering paid or social care for extra support, TextCare can help you to understand your loved one’s daily activities and routines when they are struggling to communicate their needs. This can help you to decide where they would benefit the most. For example, what time do they get up in the morning, go to bed and take daily naps. Are they forgetting to go to bed and need assistance to do so? Are they eating regularly or perhaps need help to prepare food?
Using assistive technology can be highly beneficial to people with dementia, however, it should never be used to replace human contact and interaction. It should also be remembered that assistive technology can not eliminate risk entirely, it can only help to improve the safety and wellbeing of your loved one. Where possible, your loved one should be involved in the decision to implement assistive technologies.
If you would like to discuss using TextCare with your loved one, download a copy of our support brochure. It has been designed specifically for people living with dementia, in a simple and easy to understand format.
A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported and confident they can contribute to community life.