Q: My wife is an Alzheimer's patient. Is there anything that can help make her care easier and improve her quality of life? - Tom M., Lebanon, Indiana. Listens on 1370 AM WGCL.
A: I'm so glad you asked this question. Alzheimer's is a major challenge for so many people, and many of them are too overwhelmed to ask for help. But everyday technology is helping make the care of Alzheimer's patients more effective. Here are some excellent services that may help you out.
1. GPS SmartShoe
When a loved one wanders off, family members may scramble to put together a search party. One of the cheapest and easiest solutions is the GPS SmartSole. This shoe insert can both track a patient's location and send out intermittent alerts. The one drawback is that it requires people to actually put on their shoes. Luckily, there are lots of other devices that pinpoint locations, such as special wristwatches and bracelets.
2. Day Clock
One of the scariest aspects of Alzheimer's is how it affects a person's sense of time. As their condition worsens, folks may forget the day, season or even year. Day Clock was designed to clearly display the date and time, in penetrating black and white. The clock also uses several different alarm systems, helping patients remember meals and medications throughout the day.
This free app focuses on memory and mental activities. Many psychologists believe that stimulating activity helps Alzheimer's patients overcome its symptoms. MindMate was created with seniors in mind, providing games, puzzles and virtual companionship for people who may struggle remembering things. MindMate also suggests real-world tasks and the reminders, so that patients keep up with their regimens.
MindMate is a free app for Apple users, and plans are in the works to bring it to Android.
4. Memory Picture Phone
Let's face it: We might all benefit from a picture phone, given how few of us actually remember any phone numbers anymore. But the Future Call Picture Care Phone is most helpful for patients with severe memory problems. To auto-dial a loved one, all they have to do is look at the phone, see a photo, and press the corresponding button. The phone has bright LED lights to signal incoming calls, and the receiver can reach 40 decibels, making it audible to people with diminished hearing. This is a great way for patients to stay in touch and maintain some much-needed independence.
A home security system may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but if you're living with someone who has Alzheimer's, it's actually essential. We recommend SimpliSafe home security systems because they're capable of doing more than just protecting your home against burglars.
Did you know you can program your security system to send alerts if certain doors or windows are opened? Since Alzheimer's patients can sometimes wander outside unattended, this feature comes in handy. You can also install a sensor for the entrances to certain rooms, such as the basement stairwell, so you'll be notified if the person you love is heading into an area that could potentially lead to injuries.
Beyond that, installing SimpliCams throughout your home is a good idea. This way, you can check in through the mobile app whenever you're away to make sure things are still as they should be.
If you choose the Ultimate package from SimpliSafe, you'll also have peace of mind in several other areas. This package includes a smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, water sensor and freeze sensor. These sensors keep an eye on potential risks you might not think about and send you alerts if there's ever a problem that needs your attention.
If the Ultimate package includes more door and window sensors than you really need, don't worry. Each of these specialty sensors can be added to smaller packages, or you can customize your own system to get the precise coverage you need. Installation is easy, and requires no drilling - and you can have 24/7 monitoring for $15 per month and no long-term contract.
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