Alzheimer’s disease has been known about since the time of the ancient Greeks who associated ageing with cognitive decline, but was only named in 1901 when the splendidly named Alois Alzheimer noticed a bizarre set of symptoms in a 54-year-old female patient.
As senile dementia was already a known quantity, Alzheimer’s Disease was originally only diagnosed in patients between the ages of 45 and 65 – what would today be called early-onset dementia. However, by the 70s, technology and medicine had advanced sufficiently for the disease to be more accurately described, and at last researchers could begin to work on finding remedies or palliative options for the condition. While there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, there are a number of innovations that are set to make the life of Alzheimer’s patients more comfortable, safer and less distressing.
We all have our phones with us all the time, and soon Alzheimer’s patients will have a similar device that is tailored to their needs, letting them know when to take their medication, guiding them home should they become lost, and even alerting emergency contacts should the patient suffer a sudden decline in health.
These devices will enable some patients to stay in their own home for longer, offer them a measure of freedom when they are living in a sheltered facility, such as one of these Eastleigh care homes North Devon, and generally act as a little AI companion, providing answers to questions and soothing fears – and being constantly with the patient means that there is no risk of the patient becoming distressed when their memory fails them at a crucial time.
Virtual Reality: To Travel, Explore and Reminisce
Alzheimer’s patients tend to be fairly fragile and have poor mobility. This can mean that any travel – even simple day trips to a nearby shopping centre – is fraught with stress and trauma. But being out and about is good for dementia patients as it stimulates and enlivens them, leaving care home nurses and relatives with a dilemma: keep the patient safe and sound, but unstimulated; or take them out and risk injury or the patient wandering off at an inattentive moment. To make the best of this conundrum VR headsets are being introduced to dementia patients, so that they can get ‘out and about’ without any of the risks associated with real life travel.
Reading is one of life’s great pleasures and it is a sad fact that dementia can rob a person of their enjoyment of reading. However, there is a new type of book coming into the market: essentially simple tales, told in basic words, and perhaps even with pictures to enhance the narrative. These short texts are similar to children’s chapter books and easy readers, but they have grown-up
plots and will appeal to bibliophiles who can no longer cope with full length adult books, intricate storylines and multiple subplots.