1. Q&A: Medication - Thurs 22nd November, 3-4pm

    Do you have questions about medication and drug treatments for dementia? There's no drug to cure dementia yet, but it's often possible to relieve some symptoms.

    Our next expert Q&A will be hosted by Simon from our Knowledge Services team. He will be answering your questions on Thursday 22nd November from 3-4pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

Welcoming your thoughts on a community project

Discussion in 'Equipment and technology' started by joe1823, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. joe1823

    joe1823 New member

    Oct 14, 2018
    Hi all,

    I am currently working on a community project which aims to provide advice and guidance to care homes on the use of smartphones and tablets. I'd love to hear from staff, administrators, residents & family on the challenges and barriers they face with the latest technology.

    I've added a list of questions below which will help me gauge the current feeling around these technologies. Forgive me if some of the questions seem obvious or naive, I'm just being thorough! :D Please feel free to answer as many as you want or add your own thoughts. If you could also briefly mention your role or place within care.
    Are smartphones/tablets owned or made freely available for use by residents?

    What kind of assistance is needed when using these technologies?

    Have residents cited any of the below as barriers to using a smartphone/tablet:
    -Visual impairment
    -Hearing impairment
    -Lack of manual dexterity

    What are residents using these technologies for?

    Have residents indicated some desire to access any of the following:
    -Social Media ie Facebook, Instagram.
    -Video calling
    -Voice technologies ie Alexa, Siri.
    -Streaming video ie Netflix, YouTube, Amazon.
    -Online shopping

    As a carer or family member, what kind of challenges do you face when introducing these technologies to residents?

    One of the aims of the project is for an expert in the field of smartphones and tablets to host a workshop in the home, offering advice and guidance on the benefits of these technologies and where possible, providing solutions to the barriers faced. Do you feel this is something that would be beneficial? What types of issues would you like to have addressed?

    Your input is much appreciated and will go a long way towards shaping this project.

  2. try again

    try again Registered User

    Jun 21, 2018
    Difficult! People with dementia cannot learn new things and a high percentage of the current older population are not familiar with new technology . Even stuff they used to be able to use is lost to them, they begin to struggle with the basics of tv remote controls and electric goods around the house.
    My own saga of trying to find a suitable phone for my mother, I almost gave up on mobiles - they are too complicated, too small and try to be too clever. As an example the end call and off button on a lot of them is usually the same button on the more simple ones. In the end I bought her one that looks like an old fashioned desk dial phone. Admittedly it's way too big to fit in a pocket but so far it has caused no problems.
    The product I would like to see is an always on phone and camera, not reliant on WiFi that she could speak to me with. No knobs or buttons, or maybe just one like a door button she could press to connect her to my mobile phone. I would also need to be able to connect to her at will. If it had some sort of montipn detector that could text me when there was movement around then it would be brilliant.
    I expect there are some great games for PWD on iPads but I don't own one.
  3. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    TBH when you are talking about dementia a smartphone is beyond most people. When mum went into her care home (dementia unit) she had not been able to sort out her finances, work out how to use her CD player or do shopping for a long time. She couldnt work out how to use a TV remote and didnt understand what a telephone was for - if someone else dialed for her she would talk into the phone rather than to me and fairly obviously had no understanding that there was an actual person on the other end. No-one in her care home used a phone as it was beyond all of them.

    Even my OH who is in early stages and used to be a software engineer can no longer use either a smartphone nor the smart TV. Recently my OH tried to answer our (non smart) phone. All he had to do was pick it up and press the green button, but I found him with it in his hands just looking at it.

    It is not something like hearing, visual or dexterity problems, but the cognitive ability to understand what it is for and how to use it.
  4. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Just to say my late OH couldn’t even cope with any phone, or anything electronic, for some time before he was diagnosed.
    And, as try again says, pwd are not able to learn anything new.

    Just to add I, with arthritis, find phones difficult.
  5. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    For a person with dementia presented with touch screen technology for the first time it's highly likely they could cope at all. Even if used to it they might not know what to do.

    Many cannot handle a TV remote or cordless phone they have used for years, always assuming they correctly identify which is which.
  6. joe1823

    joe1823 New member

    Oct 14, 2018
    Many thanks for all your replies so far, your thoughts are invaluable!

    I know just type of phone you mean! Do you think these newer smart phones, where most of the buttons are on screen would be more beneficial or just add to the confusion?

    Do you mean like the video security you often see in homes or offices? I think thats quite an interesting idea that could be replicated using a smartphone or tablet, though without wifi, the costs would be astronomical!

    I completely understand. My mum works in care with elderly residents, many of whom have dementia of varying degrees. When you say "No-one in her care home used a phone as it was beyond all of them." are you referring to just the residents, or the staff / carers too? Are they able to provide support - for example, to look at family pictures on Facebook or listen to music through spotify or youtube?

    Thanks for your input, Spamar. I'm beginning to get a clearer picture of the challenges faced by those with dementia. With yourself, what is the main difficulty you encounter when using a smartphone? Is it the physical size of the phone, using the touchscreen?

    In the event of them being unable to use the phones themselves, do you think there's scope for carers being given support in terms of smartphone usage?
  7. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Size mostly. Then some of them are inappropriate colours! I need black and whit and clear figures not, ike the last one I bought, pale blue and silver with unjoined figures!

    You must remember that with dementia the last learnt things go first. So in the elderly, mobile phones are soon forgotten. May be this will get easier as the population ages!
    Then remember there is a great deal of difference in early and late stage dementia.
    So you’re dealing with a vast range of ever changing abilities.
  8. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    When my dad first moved into care and still had some understanding of simple gadgets, I tried introducing a tablet for him to look through photos. I thought we could do it together. I soon realised that a touch screen was very difficult for him to manage - he kept touching it in the wrong place, closing the app etc. And then his frustration levels would increase and he'd get angry. And this was in the early to mid stages of his dementia.

    He always took an interest in my own smart phone but we could never figure out a way for him to be able to use one that wouldn't cause frustration. Lack of coordination was also a factor, as well as inability to follow even simple instructions.

    We ended up with a big button phone, with a one-button dial facility. Even that caused a few nightmares, and was eventually taken away. So sad, but true.
  9. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I was talking about the residents. Carers and relatives undoubtedly use them for their own personal use, but I have not seen them used with the residents. I tried showing mum some photos on my phone, but she just didnt seem to understand what i was showing her. A friend of mums dialed me on her phone and handed the phone to mum, but I could hear on the other end that mum didnt know what she was supposed to do and eventually handed the phone back to her friend.
    I dare say that using it for music would work. I used spotify to gather music together to play to mum when she was dying, but it seems an expensive way of doing it if that is all the smartphone is going to be used for.

    Generally gadgets and technology do not work with people with dementia. I found I had to work to make everything as simple and as low tech as possible - actual people there in front of her rather than using skype or a telephone, actual photos that she could hold rather than viewed on a screen; everything else was meaningless.
  10. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    Carers are usually fully occupied feeding, washing,dressing residents and have no time to devote to supporting a resident using a phone.
  11. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Most homes have a strict policy on mobiles, they're forbidden. The staff are only allowed to use the home's ipads during working hours, they're supposed to be looking after the residents and looking at them not at the palm of their hands all the time.
    The only person that does use the ipads to entertain the residents is the activities coordinator, we have residents of different nationalities and she can show pictures and play music to remind them of their country of origin.
    The ability to use things like a TV remote or a phone often are one of the first things to go, most of the residents can't use anything as complicated as a knife and fork let alone a keyboard.
  12. Toony Oony

    Toony Oony Registered User

    Jun 21, 2016
    My Mum can do very little for herself and the ability to use a remote/phone/microwave etc went long ago. She cannot even use the TV or call button in her Care Home room as she cannot remember what to press. Her conversation makes little sense BUT ... I have always shown her pictures on my iPhone and she enjoys seeing them and knows what they are (eg she tries to pat animals, blows kisses at babies etc. If I take her photo, she wants to see it and comments on her appearance.
    I have been using the WeaveSilk app (mentioned on this forum) and although Mum needs prompting each time, she enjoyed making the kaleidoscope type patterns using the touch screen, which I then printed off for her. With an iPad it is even easier and shortly I am helping the activities coordinators try this across the Care home as an activity for all abilities.

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