Dementia Awareness Week, which starts on Sunday May 15th, offers more than knowledge and advice for the 850,000 sufferers and thousands of carers involved in this disease.
Along with medical research to identify the causes and cures, a group of enterprising companies around the world have harnessed new technology to develop products and equipment that can really assist dementia sufferers.
New ideas include a music memory box which, at the simple lift of a lid, will play the person’s favourite melodies from the past jogging memories and mental activity.; and a fun day clock that simply shows in easy to read type whether it is Thursday morning or Friday bedtime.
For carers, there are exciting and colourful little pebbles which can be kept in a pocket and offer GPS tracking, or a simple plug extension that will send messages when the person turns the kettle on for instance, showing he or she is up and about.
Sarah Boyle, who helped to set up the UK specialist website Spring Chicken after her mother developed Alzheimer’s, says dementia is a major problem across the world.
“Without doubt this is a global problem. In America alone, there are more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s, it is the sixth leading cause of death in that country,” she said. “So it makes sense to trawl the world to find the latest products that can help.
“International co-operation is leading to greater understanding and new technology and now the lives of dementia sufferers really are being transformed. Also, with so much medical research going on, it can’t be that long before the causes and ways to counteract dementia are finally identified.”
New ideas from around the world to help dementia sufferers include:
Pebbell Trackers. These offer dementia sufferers the opportunity to enjoy the freedom of getting out and about with confidence. They slip into pockets and offer GPS tracking, a simple SOS button and conversation facility with selected family or carers, £149.
Three Rings Plug. This looks like a regular plug extension but sends activity messages such as when a kettle is turned on to a carer’s smartphone, £79.
Simple Music Player. Music has been identified as a key way to bring back memories and help people with dementia to become more mentally active. Simply download favourite tracks from the past and then these can be played just by lifting the lid. £110.
A Day Clock with easy to read simple displays gives confidence and reassurance, £75.99p.
All items are available from Oxford based www.springchicken.co.uk