85 per cent of people would want to stay living at home for as long as possible if diagnosed with dementia, and yet a third of the general public wouldn’t know where to find information about how to make their home suitable, finds a YouGov poll commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society. Today (June 17, 2014), the charity launches a landmark guide to improve access to life-changing technology which could enable people with dementia to live independently for longer.
The Dementia-friendly technology charter has been produced as part of the dementia-friendly communities strand of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. The charter, developed by a diverse working group led by Tunstall Healthcare, gives people with dementia and their carers information on how to access technology. It also provides guidance to health, housing and social care professionals on how to make technology work for people based on their individual needs.
The charter comes one week before the public vote for the Longitude Prize 2014, closes, with potential for £10 million to develop new technologies that revolutionise care for people with dementia. Dementia is one of six challenges the public can vote for until 25th June, with the winner receiving a £10 million prize fund and up to five years to find a solution.
The YouGov survey of 2,353 people also found:
- Less than half (47 per cent) agreed that they thought they would be able to stay at home if diagnosed with dementia
- Just 33 per cent of 19-24 year olds thought they would be able to stay at home if diagnosed with dementia
Assistive technology includes products and modifications to the home that can make life easier and safer for people with dementia. If used in the right way it has the potential to increase independence and autonomy both for the person with dementia and those around them.
Natasha Cooper, 45, from Staffordshire, used an online activity monitoring system to support her father John to continue living in his own home after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease
She said: “Dad was quite happy living on his own in his apartment as he knew where everything was and felt confident being there alone, but I wanted to know he was safe. I heard about the system at an Alzheimer’s Society conference and decided to give it a go as it meant I could check dad’s activity patterns and recognise any marked changes which might need investigating. Having the technology in place gave me peace of mind that dad was safe and he was able to continue living an active, independent and full life in his own home until he passed away.”
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said: “Technology can be invaluable in enabling people with dementia to live independently for longer, empowering people with the condition to stay at home whilst reducing stress and worry for carers concerned about the safety and comfort of loved ones with dementia.
“This first ever charter will help inform people how they can access and use technology in their own lives whilst assisting professionals working in dementia so they have good understanding of technology and how it can benefit people living with the condition.
“The Longitude Prize offers a unique opportunity to invest in dementia research, and fund work to explore how technology could ensure people with dementia live well at home for longer.”
Ali Rogan, External Affairs Director at Tunstall Healthcare and chair of the working group, said: “Whilst not a solution for everyone, technology can work in a variety of ways to manage risks, assist with management of health conditions and support carers. There are thousands of individuals out there who are missing out on potentially life-changing technology enabled care services. A key objective of the charter is how we can improve access. Everyone should have a right to an assessment for technology appropriate to their needs.”