As explained by an Alzheimer Scotland Link worker
As I sit typing this blog to share my role with you today, I can count at least 8 technologies assisting me to do so, like many people today, I use countless technologies to support me in my day to day life. My mobile phone I’d view as my essential support, due to its many functions, it is rarely far from my side. It has GPS, satnav, diary and daily reminders and ‘google’. Life without my mobile phone would be difficult to imagine. However for many people over 65 this technology is not part of their day to day life and due to this it can sometimes prove difficult to introduce assistive technology following a diagnosis of dementia.
As an Alzheimer Scotland dementia link worker, over the last 6 months I have been looking at the ways in which technology fits into the 5 pillars of post diagnostic support and the ways in which Link Workers introduce the idea of technology enabled care. Technology enabled care fits comfortably within 4 of the 5 pillars including understanding the illness and managing the symptoms; supporting community connections and Peer support; then crucially planning for future care. The former and latter provide opportunities for individuals to discuss current and future options for assistive technologies and both make the changes required for current symptoms and also give consent for future technological interventions. Community connections and peer support are most often options of face to face interactions, however this could also be met through the use of social media and video calling for some people.
My 4 top tips to introducing technology enabled care:
Timing is key to the introduction of assistive technology, both in discussing this and implementing technologies. This needs to happen at a time and in a way that works for the individual. Whether that’s a few short discussions, or seeing physical examples of the technologies on a POD in a resource centre, it’s important and it’s a very personal approach.
- Individual Benefits
A very common response I have seen in my work as a link worker to options for technologies is ‘I don’t think I need that yet’. Using examples of ways in which a piece of technology has worked for other people in a similar position has proven to be a good way of explaining how and why this would be of benefit to them. A proactive approach is better for individuals to adapt to than introducing technology in reaction to a new symptom or a potential risk or crisis.
- Personalise the options
There are, what seems like an infinite number of technologies which are often adaptable. I use resources such as the Dementia Circle website (http://www.dementiacircle.co.uk/) encourage people to drop into their local Alzheimer Scotland resource centre and have a look at some examples in our PODS or use google to look into individualised options and then follow up at a future visit. It’s also important to share positive stories and innovative supports with colleagues as it could also help others.
- Future permissions
If the person with dementia has any strong feelings about technology for now and the future, it would be helpful to have this information shared with family and any relevant professionals. This should be included in the person centred plan but equally as important it should be discussed with family who may be involved in future care options.
These are my four top tips to talking about the use of technology to live well with dementia, what would your tips be?
Jennifer Risk, Dementia Link Worker
I’ve been a Dementia Link Worker for over 3 years providing Post Diagnostic Support in East Ayrshire. I have a particular interest in Technology Enabled Care and the benefits this can have for people living with Dementia.