The Future of Technology and Dementia Care
It is becoming increasingly known that as our aging population rises, so will the prevalence of dementia. By the year 2050, dementia is predicted to impact more than 110 million people, nearly triple the amount that impacts people across the world today. Yet, as with many challenges that have faced humanity over the centuries, there are also expected to be some innovations that will help us manage this potential problem. Today, technology already serves as an important tool in dementia care. For instance, many people already rely on smart phones, electronic calendars, medication management, and some telecommunication software to assist them in caring for their loved one. In the future, these technologies are likely to advance even further.
In this blog, we will discuss some of the potential technological innovations that will assist dementia patients and caregivers alike.
What could some of these innovations look like?
Telehealth: Telehealth is when you provide healthcare from a distance through telecommunication. This is especially important as traveling to the hospital can pose unique challenges to some individuals and their caregivers. Instead, you will be able to talk to a medical professional over the internet. Telehealth can assist with tracking, navigation, monitoring systems, and online access to store resources.
Facial Recognition Software: Devices like Google Glass, glasses that display a computer screen in the lens when you wear them, can help aging seniors be more independent and alert. As we age, memory problems become common, but innovations in facial recognition software can allow seniors to wear certain devices, like Google Glass, that help remind them who they have met in the past since people’s facial features are stored in the device’s memory. Additionally, devices like those can even assist aging seniors when they are shopping or taking walks by providing reminders or directions.
Robotics: Devices that help around the house, like automatic vacuums, can help individuals with more strenuous tasks, helping them avoid injury. Also, advancements in user interface can make these devices easier and more intuitive to use.
Smart homes: This term usually means homes that are equipped with certain sensors and devices that can respond to voice commands and track particular events in proximity. One interesting example could be the detection of walking habits, which can help sense when walking becomes irregular so that individuals can avoid falls.
Research advancements: As biomedical research advances, we hope to see more and more progress in dementia research, prevention, and treatment. Most likely, the pressure of an increasing senior population will boost the incentive for neurological research to find solutions to some of the toughest problems we are facing.
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 Source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2012/dementia_20120411/en/