Professional Comment

How Can Technology Support People Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

By Tracey Hipkiss, Clinical Applications Specialist at Tunstall Healthcare (

Living with dementia and Alzheimer’s can have significant physical and emotional impacts, and will affect an individual’s thoughts, feelings and responses.

Below Tracey Hipkiss discusses how technology can support people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s and the people who care for them.

Sleeping better

It’s well known that long stretches of poor sleep can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health and wellbeing1. People living with dementia can often have issues with sleep, with different types of dementia being associated with different sleep problems2. This can also impact the people caring for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s, as they may need to check on them throughout the night.

Technology can provide much needed respite for everyone. For example, bed occupancy sensors can raise an alert if someone leaves their bed during the night and doesn’t return after a short time. Epilepsy and enuresis sensors can also be used to enable a quick response to incidents, but equally mean that carers don’t have to disturb the person they care for during the night to check on them. In circumstances where an older spouse is caring for their partner, such technology can enable them to sleep peacefully, knowing they’ll be woken by the system if needed.

Finding freedom
Digital solutions can enable caregivers to leave the house for short periods of time, with the knowledge that any technology in place will flag if there is an issue at home. This in turn will improve their quality of life and reduce stress as they can find more freedom.

Freedom is equally important for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia so that they can maintain familiar habits and activities outside the home to remain a part of their community for as long as possible. Digital solutions can be deployed that combine the ability to request help in an emergency away from home with location tracking. This ensures that familiar routines, such as walking to the local shop, can continue safely for longer while maintaining connections and supporting independence and mobility.

Fit for the future

Health and social care providers continue to experience increasing pressures, however technology is becoming more widely available which can reduce the number of events that require ambulance call outs and hospital admissions. Technology can also delay the need to move to a residential care setting.

As technology advances, solutions are becoming increasingly predictive and proactive, and more able to effectively harness the wealth of data held by monitoring centres. This insight has the potential to transform the way we support people living with Alzheimer’s by creating targeted, upstream interventions that enable care to become community-based and person-centred. For the thousands of people every day who receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and their families, having this support can make all the difference.