Reminder Apps on Smartphones May Help in Early Dementia

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News Picture: Reminder Apps on Smartphones May Help in Early DementiaBy Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 18, 2021 (HealthDay Information)

Regardless of stereotypes about seniors and expertise, a small research means that older adults within the early phases of dementia can use smartphone apps as reminiscence aids.

The researchers discovered that older individuals with gentle impairments in reminiscence and considering weren’t solely capable of learn to use the apps, they stated the digital aids made their day by day lives simpler.

The apps weren’t specifically designed. The research examined the consequences of two fundamental smartphone options: a reminder app that provides notifications of a scheduled occasion and a digital recorder app (such because the voice memo app on iPhones).

“We weren’t attempting to reinvent the wheel,” stated lead researcher Michael Scullin, an affiliate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor College in Waco, Texas.

For the 52 older adults within the research, each kinds of apps turned out to be user-friendly, and helped with remembering day by day duties. By the top of the four-week trial, contributors have been giving increased rankings to their high quality of life.

“We have been happy to see that it really improved their day by day lives,” Scullin stated.

It did take some teaching. Every participant was given a coaching session not solely in utilizing the app, however the smartphone, too.

Scullin stated most had owned a smartphone previous to the research, however sometimes didn’t use it a lot.

“Perhaps that was as a result of nobody had ever walked them by the steps,” he stated.

Scullin’s group began with the fundamentals — together with easy methods to flip the telephone on — after which progressed to classes on the telephone’s commonplace memory-aid app.

“It is not ‘too exhausting’ for them to study,” Scullin stated.

There could also be a stereotype that older adults are antagonistic to expertise. However that is a delusion, based on Dr. Howard Fillit, founding government director of the nonprofit Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Basis.

“I do not suppose the information present that older adults cannot or do not wish to use expertise,” stated Fillit, who was not concerned within the research.

For one, he famous, many seniors see expertise as a option to keep socially engaged.

However past that, Fillit stated, there’s rising curiosity in utilizing digital expertise to help older adults’ well being — the Apple Watch, and its capacity to detect sure heart arrhythmias, being one instance.

And, the truth is, Fillit stated, analysis is already underway to develop digital applied sciences that may assist detect Alzheimer’s sooner, by gathering knowledge on customers’ habits and psychological efficiency.

A part of what’s noteworthy concerning the new research, based on Fillit, is the concentrate on practicality.

“It addresses a typical and prevalent downside in individuals with gentle cognitive impairment,” he stated.

And that, mainly, is remembering to do routine duties, like taking drugs or making an vital telephone name.

The research — printed Nov. 17 within the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society — concerned older adults who had been identified with both early-stage dementia or gentle cognitive impairment. The latter refers to difficulties with reminiscence or different psychological abilities that will progress to dementia.

Contributors have been randomly assigned to make use of both the reminder app or the digital voice recorder app that was commonplace for his or her telephone. These utilizing the recorder app have been inspired to document “intentions,” comparable to, “When it’s 7 p.m., then I’ll name my brother.”

Twice every week, contributors have been requested to name a analysis telephone quantity on a particular day and take images at a particular location.

On common, each app teams completed about half of these assignments. That compares with a 20% price in previous research the place individuals with gentle impairment have been assigned comparable reminiscence duties, based on Scullin’s group.

And most contributors — two-thirds — reported an enchancment of their day by day reminiscence efficiency.

There are caveats. Fillit stated that folks with early dementia, versus gentle cognitive impairment, might have extra issue with smartphone apps.

And for some seniors, Scullin stated, carrying a telephone might current a fall danger. Placing the telephone in a pocket when transferring, in order that each arms are free, could be vital, he famous.

Beth Kallmyer is vice chairman for care and help on the Alzheimer’s Affiliation.

She stated the group “encourages the use and additional improvement of latest applied sciences that may help individuals dwelling with Alzheimer’s.”

For individuals within the early phases of dementia, Kallmyer stated, applied sciences like smartphone and GPS (world positioning methods) might assist them navigate some challenges of the illness.

As dementia progresses, nevertheless, issues change. “Even the perfect applied sciences will maintain no profit for many who lack the cognition to make use of or perceive them,” Kallmyer stated.

Scullin stated his group plans to do a longer-term research to see how properly reminiscence apps proceed to serve individuals with milder impairment over time.


One of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is __________________. See Answer

Extra info

The Alzheimer’s Society has extra on dementia and technology use.

SOURCES: Michael Scullin, PhD, affiliate professor, psychology and neuroscience, Baylor College, Waco, Texas; Howard Fillit, MD, founding government director and chief science officer, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Basis, New York Metropolis; Beth Kallmyer, MSW, vice chairman, care and help, Alzheimer’s Affiliation, Chicago; Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Nov. 17, 2021, on-line

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