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Dementia Australia has found people living with dementia and their carers can benefit from technology when it is customised to meet their unique needs and goals.
Maree McCabe, CEO Dementia Australia, said the finding came from a Dementia Australia two-year study into how technology can be tailored to support people living with dementia.
“Dementia Australia’s study discovered that there are benefits to asking what problems or frustrations a person living with dementia is experiencing and then exploring how technology can be customised to address these concerns,” Ms McCabe said.
“Sometimes off-the-shelf technology like apps and augmented reality headsets are not appropriate for people living with dementia.”
Almost 30 people living with dementia or mild cognitive impairment participated in the study. Each participant was questioned about their everyday frustrations and ideas they had for improving their quality of life. All participants then received personalised technology to help address their challenges or to help them achieve their goals.
Through the project, one participant, Rob Riddoch has found improvement in his quality of life through the introduction of an iPad and an Alexa virtual assistant to help with daily reminders.
“The reminders on my iPad include all of my appointments and activities, and because it is visual, I don’t have to think about it, I just get reminded,” Rob said.
“The more you can do with technology, the less others need to do. That element works well for me and for others.”
The study project was funded by the Australian Commonwealth Government Dementia and Aged Care Services (DACS) Fund. DACS supports emerging priorities and challenges in aged care, focusing on areas such as dementia.