In last week’s Geyer Law blog, we talked about the importance of advance planning for healthcare needs, and specifically the issues that must be addressed were you or a loved one faced with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
In addition to Indiana’s Advance Directive for Health Care Decisions document, the Alzheimer’s Association mentions a number of sobering but essential medical decisions to consider when planning ahead, including DNI (do not intubate), DNR (do not resuscitate), and POLSTs (physician orders for life-sustaining treatment during a medical emergency). :.
On a positive note, the American Society on Aging explains ways in which modern technology can have a dramatic and positive impact on the life of an individual living with dementia. Not only is it true that more and more older adults in general have been users of the internet and of smart phones, these devices can be used to specifically enhance the safety and well-being of those suffering from cognitive decline.
Simple examples of readily available tools include:
- using Google Earth to zoom in on a person’s childhood home (triggering nostalgic associations)
- setting up customized song playlists on Spotify (stimulating enjoyment and recognition)
- using computer-based cognitive training exercises and brain fitness software installed on a personal computer, with memory games and puzzles
- computer-directed physical exercises to improve balance and fitness (helping to prevent falls)
- medication reminder systems
- GPS tracking and fall detection computerized systems
- virtual reality training for staff members of care facilities
Assistive technology consists of devices that help maintain a person’s ability to do everyday things for him or herself, alzheimersorg.uk explains. Examples include electronic pill boxes (reminding you to take medication) and “smart home” systems that turn up heating or switch off lights
“Constant reminders from a machine rather than a person can seem less annoying or patronizing,” DailyCaring observes. In addition, memory technology helps take the pressure off caregivers to keep reminding a family member about important tasks. Reminders can be set up on mobile phones through customizable “alarm clocks”. Some innovative tools include motion sensors that play pre-recorded messages when someone walks by.
As eldercare attorneys at Geyer Law, we are devoted to helping our clients document their wishes and plan for the unthinkable. It’s comforting to learn about the myriad ways in which technology can help improve the lives of those suffering cognitive decline while easing the burden of those who love and care for them.,
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team