Technology use for people with cognitive impairment is quickly becoming commonplace in neurological rehabilitation. Technology that is a part of our everyday lives can increase independent functioning for people having difficulty with memory or other cognitive impairments. Use of technology can also decrease the burden on caregivers. Examples of assistive technology include:
- Smartphones and smartphone apps
- Talk to text features
- Password databases
- Smart home technology
- Smart watches
- Video communication devices
How can I use technology to help my memory?
As smartphone use has become mainstream, so have applications to assist us in tracking information. Use of a phone calendar paired with alerts can remind us of upcoming appointments. Timers and alarms can remind us of when to leave the house or when to begin getting ready. Note taking on a phone can help us keep lists organized or record passwords and other important information. Most technology can be operated with the talk-to-text feature for those with vision or typing impairment. Smart home assistants can be used to orient people to the time/date/weather, keep a grocery list, or remind us to perform a task at a certain time. Smart watches can be paired with other technology to help find a misplaced phone or track important health information like sleep and heart rate. They can even be used to alert loved ones of a fall.
Another great benefit of technology is allowing the person with memory impairment to easily communicate with caregivers and allow caregivers to see the person and their environment from a distance. This can allow the person to get help easily and efficiently and decrease isolation that sometimes occurs with the onset of cognitive impairment.
How do I decide what to use?
Assistive technology should be personalized and tailored to the person using it. The goal is to identify a tool to be used for a specific purpose and environment the person is having difficulty in. Also, it is important to consider how familiar/comfortable the person and their caregiver is with technology use. Family/caregivers may choose technology they are already using, as this increases the likelihood that the person with memory impairment will use it. For families who are less familiar with technology, it is beneficial to work with a speech or occupational therapist who can train them.
How Sage can help
If you or a loved one is experiencing memory or cognitive difficulty and you are interested in learning more about how assistive technology can help you, give us a call! One of our skilled therapists can assist you by determining your individual needs, developing a specialized training program, and making technology recommendations.