Project research for helping people with dementia remember to take medicine

Discussion in 'Researchers, students and professionals' started by smallcat, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. smallcat

    smallcat New member

    Mar 6, 2018
    Hi there,

    I'm a student currently working on a project that involves using advanced/smart textiles in order to improve people's well being or daily lives. I've chosen to focus on people living with dementia.

    The idea is a solution for people forgetting to take their medicine. This would involve having a tiny speaker, tiny battery and a few other components embedded within the collar of a shirt or sweater hidden from view and not weighty. A family member or carer could choose a set time of the day for when the speaker would make a sound. This sound would either be a buzzer or a pre-recorded voice clip of a family member telling them that it's time to take their medicine as I thought something more familiar would be better.
    The idea behind embedding this system within their clothes is that it can't be lost or forgotten like a mobile phone, and putting on clothes is something that is unlikely to be forgotten (from what I've gathered anyway).

    I would love to know your opinions on this idea, any suggestions or criticisms welcome and finally any methods that you currently use to help family or friends with dementia remember to take their medicines.

    Thank you for your time!
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    Hello @smallcat, welcome to TP.

    That's a novel idea and I wish you well with the project. However, a major issue with many people with dementia is confusion/disorientation accompanied by anxiety. I would dread to think what the reaction would be if their clothes started talking to them.
    There may also be a problem with moving the device from one item to another when washing is required.
    Maybe others will be more positive.
  3. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    Hello @smallcat .

    My dad can't be trusted to put his clothes on. Some days he does, others he wears his Jim jams or a mixture of both.

    He totally ignores his pill alarm, and me when I tell him to take them. I have to put them in his hand.

    Sorry not to be more positive
  4. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    It will most likely be ignored.
  5. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Oh dear, please, please do more research about Dementia. In the early stages of Dementia it may work, but if not acted on immediately and this is not something you can guarantee, then the pills would stay in the bottle, because they have been forgotten. In the later stages I think it would be terrifying if clothes started talking.

    Sorry, not very positive.
  6. Life

    Life Registered User

    Oct 12, 2017
    Hi @smallcat. Firstly thank you so much for working on a project in this area.I certainly welcome ideas which might make life easier for my partner or me. I don't think this would be a good idea for us though, as one of the symptoms present when my partner was diagnosed, was auditory hallucinations, so a disembodied voice may be not such a good idea for him. We currently use a dosette box coupled with checking/reminding by me and his carers.
  7. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    When mum was living alone in her home before she went into her care home she had her tablets delivered to her in "blister packs" (dosette box), but would forget to take them. I tried phoning her to remind her to take her medication when it was due; she would answer the phone, say "oh yes, Ill do it now" put the phone down and immediately forget that she had had the phone call. The pills did not get taken.

    Once she went into her care home the carers gave her the pills in a little tub and waited with her until she had taken them.
  8. Claire Mary

    Claire Mary Registered User

    Nov 21, 2016
    Citizen of the planet.
    Regarding pill taking, has anyone found that the patient would take pills too many times per day, forgetting that they had already taken them earlier?
  9. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    Yes. My dad did that. Then he'd faint from low blood pressure. He's got a beeping tabtime pillbox now which kept him on the straight and narrow for quite a while. Now he just ignores the alarm so whoever gets there first makes sure he takes them.
  10. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    Thats great idea but.......

    Would still need a carer to attach to clothes, remove for laundering etc.

    A one announcement ''its time to take your tablets' would be okay...or would it repeat and repeat and repeat until they are taken? ( or would the PWD press a button to silence it? )
  11. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    Yes, my wife would do that and she wouldn't know which pill should be taken at whatever time. I fill pill-mills for each day and each day is divided into clear quadrants. I just have to ensue she has the correct mill each day and so far she has only made a couple of mistakes with the time of day. How long she will last like that is anyone's guess. The mill is this one:-

  12. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    It is great that new innovations are being researched to help a person with dementia but from I think your idea has several flaws once a person moves from early stage when they may have tablet taking awareness. Your idea would require the pwd to be proactive in the various tasks..putting on the right clothes..attaching a device...taking it off... etc and lack of understanding...a buzzer or instruction will frustrate or be ignored to make this work and my dad would not have been able to do what was being asked. If they still have that sort of u derstanding it is perhaps likely they still have enough understanding to know to take tablets.I think also a voice or buzzer that cannot be understood with a pwd with hallucinations could be very frightening. Plus it is actually quite common for pwd as the illness progresses to forget the need for clothes or how many layers.

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