In today’s modern world, there’s no denying how important technology will be for helping to care for those affected by dementia. Whether it’s movement activated prompts to remind a person with dementia to take their keys when they go out, or GPS trackers to prevent them getting lost, technology can enable people with dementia to continue living in their own home. Click on the links below to find out what can help…

Staying independent

Your dilemma
The person you care for lives on their own for most of the time, and enjoys their independence. However, they also need help to continue with activities at home, such as cooking, dressing, gardening, reading and walking.
Products to help
- Stay cooking

There are lots of products to help you stay independent in the kitchen. If the person you care for struggles to cut things now, there are special chopping boards that help to hold food in place or knives and graters that are angled to make them easier to use.
- Stay stylish
Helping someone with dementia maintain their identity is important, and this can be done by ensuring they are still able to wear their own clothes, or versions of them. This could be done by using adapted clothing – smart shirts that are done up with magnetic buttons or dresses that have wide sleeves and undo to the waist to make them easy to step into.
- Stay gardening
Long-reach and easy-grip tools can be useful if the person you care for enjoys gardening but has limited mobility. These can include spades, hoes and trowels, all with ergonomic handles. You can also get kneelers to provide support when bending down. Gardening is a great activity for providing light exercise, purpose and satisfaction.
- Stay walking
To ensure someone with dementia can keep getting out and about – whether going for a walk or to visit friends - a tracker may be a good idea. Trackers can be attached to pendants, wrist bands, belts and even the sole of a shoe to help a carer know where someone is if needed.
- Stay reading and writing
Reading and writing can be a fantastic activity for someone with dementia, but if they struggle to see the reading material or to hold a pen, they may simply give up. Magnifying lights, angled lamps and book and magazine rests are a good way to be able to see books easily. For writing, consider specially designed lights, ergonomic pens could also solve the problem of not being able to grip pens well.
These products help with
Ensuring someone with dementia can stay at home and remain independent for as long as possible.
Good to know
Being out in the garden or taking part in a garden-based activity can help people with dementia talk about the past and remind them of garden tasks they might have been involved in when they were younger. Talking to people about their favourite flowers, what they used to grow or do in their garden or whether they grew fruit and vegetables, can often open up other happy, related memories.

>> SHOP: ACTIVITIES

Communication

Your dilemma
The person with dementia may lack confidence using complicated phone technology, or struggle to work out who they need to call in an emergency. They may also be at risk of cold callers and scam callers.
Products to help
- Phones

There is a range of telephones that have large, clear buttons so it’s easy to make calls, while some have spaces for you to insert a picture of different family members so it’s easy to pick out who you need to contact. Some phones also have amplified ringers for those that are hard of hearing.
- Call screening
Some phone companies offer a number of call blocking services, but these can cost money. There are also nuisance call screeners and blocker machines, which can be plugged into your phone and will check the number of all incoming calls against a pre-approved list. If the number doesn’t match any of them, it plays a polite message saying that the person they’re calling only takes calls from certain numbers.
- Emergency
It’s important that if there’s an emergency, the person at home can get in touch with people. Some phones have an ‘SOS’ feature, which lets them press a button, either on the phone or attached to a pendant alarm which will then set off a series of automated calls to carers or family members.
These products help with
Ensuring the safety of the person living alone, helping them to stay in contact with carers or family members. They also help to prevent cold callers and scammers from taking advantage of someone with dementia who may not be able to fully comprehend what they’re signing up to or giving money for.
Good to know
It’s possible to sign up to something called the Telephone Preference Service, which lets you register your phone number so you don’t receive telemarketing calls.

>> SHOP: PILL DISPENSERS

Prompts and reminders

Your dilemma
The person with dementia is able to take care of themselves, but sometimes forgets to do certain things and needs prompting or reminding. Occasionally, they need help finding something that has gone missing.
Products to help
- Voice memos

These are useful for helping to remind someone to do something. They’re often movement activated, so when you walk past them, they’ll sound a recording. This could be something like ‘John, remember to take your keys if you go out’ or ‘Don’t forget your carer, Sue, is coming to visit at 2pm today’.
- Locators
If you’re constantly putting items down and then forgetting where they are, a locator could help. These are often attached with a key ring or Velcro, and then another device is used to activate an alarm to help you find the item. Some locator device bases can also be attached to a wall, so that it doesn’t go missing.
- Pill dispensers
If the person you care for is on medication, it’s important that they remember to take it as often as required (and this can sometimes be multiple times a day). To help with this, pill dispensers can be used, as they let you divide up pills into containers for each specific day or time of day. Some pill dispensers are electric, sounding an alarm to remind the person to take their pill, while others only open up one compartment a day, preventing the person with dementia to ‘double-dose’ because they’ve forgotten they took a pill already.
These products help with
Memory loss and confusion, ensuring the person with dementia is able to carry on with life with a few helpful nudges or reminders when they need them.
Tip
Find out if your local pharmacy will decant pills into the plastic cassettes in the automatic pill dispensers. Some will and some won’t – if they don’t, you’ll need to put the pills into it yourself.

>> SHOP: DEMENTIA TIME OF DAY CLOCKS

Time Orientation

Your dilemma
The person you care for gets confused about what time it is, or struggles to read a clock. You may find they’re getting up and wandering around at 3am because they think it’s 3pm.
Products to help
- Dementia clocks

These are specially designed clocks that can help someone with dementia tell the time. This is usually through creating a very clear and well-labelled clock face. They may include details of the date, or whether it’s morning, afternoon or evening.
Some dementia clocks forgo actual numbers altogether, and simply say, ‘It is Wednesday morning’ or ‘It is Friday evening’. This can help someone orientate themselves while keeping things simple.
- Watches
It’s also possible to get watches that can speak the time, and that highlight what day of the week it is.
These products help with
Orientation, including working out what day it is and whether it’s day or night. This provides a feeling of independence as they’re able to work out what time it is without getting confused and having to ask.
Good to know
The reason someone with dementia may wake during the night is because dementia can affect the area of the brain that controls the body clock – known as the circadian rhythm – meaning they’re more likely to be awake when they should be asleep.

Safety and monitoring

Your dilemma
You’re worried that the person with dementia may no longer be safe at home because they may forget to turn off the gas, or leave home without telling anyone where they're going.
Products to help
- Tracking devices

These use global positioning system (GPS) to track where someone is, based on the signal that a specific device gives off. They are used in numerous bits of technology today including mobile phones and car sat nav systems. GPS locators are useful for helping you find someone if they’ve disappeared, as they can be attached to pendants, watches, insoles and belts. They’re also useful for finding specific items if something gets misplaced regularly, such as glasses or keys.
- Motion and fall detectors
If someone you care for does have a fall, it’s important that you get to know about it quickly. Motion detectors can be placed on most walls and they’ll detect whether there has been any movement in the room. They can be set to sound an alarm if there is movement (for example during the night) and also to sound if there has been no movement for a set amount of time, which could suggest a fall or accident.
- Gas, fire and flood alarms
If the person you care for has a gas-powered cooker (or any gas-powered piece of equipment), it’s vital that you place a carbon monoxide detector and alarm near the item. If it detects gas, it will sound an alarm. Some are hooked into the mains gas source and will actually cut off the supply to reduce the risk while other alarms are hooked into a telecare system that will send a message to a control centre alerting them (and the carer) of what’s going on.
The same goes for fire and smoke alarms. While many smoke alarms simply sound an alarm, this can be confusing and traumatising for someone with dementia, who may even try to remove the alarm or disable it. Alarms that are screwed in or difficult to remove are better, as are those that are linked to a message alarm centre that can alert a carer as to what’s going on.
Flood alarms are useful if you’re worried about the person with dementia could leave a tap running and cause a flood. Sensors will pick up when a certain amount of water is detected and set off an alarm which can be hooked into a telecare system.
- Bed monitors
Night time wandering can be a real worry for carers and one that can lead to them not being able to sleep well, because they’re worried that the person they care for could wander off in the night. You can monitor if someone gets up from their bed by placing a pressure detector on their mattress underneath the sheet which will let you know if it does not detect any weight on it. You can also place a pressure sensor under a mat in their room, which will sound an alarm if someone steps on it.
- Door Use/Access
Another option is to place a motion detector by the door of the room, which gives the person freedom to get up and move around if they wish to, but will sound an alarm if they then leave the room.
- Remote home monitoring
A telecare system can be a very useful way to give a carer peace of mind while their loved one maintains their independence. They can be linked up to cameras or alarms in the house which are then connected to a monitoring system. If an alarm is raised, then someone can be contacted to check on the person.
These products help with
Keeping a person with dementia safe and well monitored without having to check on them in person all the time. This can make them feel more independent and happier at able to cope in their own home for longer.
Tip
Involve the person in decisions about which monitoring system or solution to use, and take their opinions on board. Sometimes it’s best to introduce these kinds of things early on in the dementia journey so they have time to get used to them.

>> SHOP: SIMPLE MUSIC PLAYERS

Leisure and entertainment

Your dilemma
The person you care for finds technology useful for keeping them interested and engaged, but may sometimes struggle to operate the more technical items.
- Music
A simple radio with just one button to turn on or tune and designed in an old-fashioned style is ideal for someone with dementia.
- TV
Today’s remote controls can be extremely confusing, especially as they seem to operate not just televisions, but set-top boxes and digital recorders. For someone with dementia, who may only remember a time when there were one or two channels, this can be massively overwhelming. Pick a remote control that has just a few buttons – to move the channel selection up and down, to change the volume and to turn it off and on again.
- Computing
If poor eyesight or spotting the right keys is an issue for someone who has dementia but still enjoys using a computer, you can get magnifying screens for computer monitors and colour contrast keyboards with larger buttons. If using a mouse is proving difficult, many computers are touchscreen (including PCs) so you don’t need to use them.
Modern day communication methods can also be very useful for helping older people stay in contact with others, particularly programmes such as Skype or Facetime (for Apple products), which let you do video calling.
These products helps with
Keeping someone with dementia occupied, preventing boredom, and helping them feel connected and engaged.
Good to know
If you want to brush up your technology skills, particularly those needed for using a computer or tablet, there are lots of different courses available to bring you up to speed. Look out for the ones provided by Age UK.