Independence at home can be prolonged with technological aids for people with dementia and other memory impairments (such as traumatic brain injury).

For clients who can self-administer medications but just can’t remember when to take them, or if they’ve already done so, automated medication dispensers can help. Medications can be loaded by a caregiver or nurse for up to a 28 day cycle. Some units are hooked to a phone line and programmed to beep – very loudly, assisting people who are hard of hearing – if the medication isn’t removed from the dispenser.

If it beeps for so long and the meds still aren’t removed, units hooked to a phone line will call a pre-programmed number. This can give families and guardians peace of mind that all is well at home. I recommend trying these for someone who just needs minimal reminders. If forgetting to take medications on schedule is the only issue, this unit can be a lot less expensive than hiring a private in-home companion caregiver, or can reduce the number of hours that a caregiver is required. 

There are different brands and types of automated medication dispensers. Some have monthly monitoring fees and lower initial costs. Others are higher cost and have no fees. Your family or client can shop around and decide which one is best for your individual needs. Do a search online for “automated medication dispenser” and see what’s available.

Another challenge for people with memory loss is the disorientation that results from not being oriented to time. Clocks and wall calendars are of no use to someone who can’t tell day from night, can no longer decipher an analog clock display, or who are confused by digital displays.

This nifty Android app called ZEEZAP can be set up for mom or dad on an old device you no longer need because you’ve upgraded. Once you program it, it never needs to be touched again. The clock display tells the viewer “It’s now Monday” with a digital display and a visual representation of the time for when “a.m.” and “p.m.” have lost their meaning. A sun shows on the bright blue display if it’s day, a moon and dark blue background appear if it’s night.

These are just a couple of examples of the kinds of technological assistance that we will explore when we look at the least restrictive, least intrusive options for helping our clients and their loved ones. Staying at home as long as possible is of utmost importance for everyone. If your loved one is struggling to maintain independence, contact us so we can explore ways that we can help.