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Dementia and Alzheimer's are highly debilitating disorders that seriously damage a sufferer's quality of life. As these disorders get progressively worse over time, the process can be highly distressing to the sufferers and their loved ones.
Dementia is an umbrella term for a subset of disorders that can cause memory loss, amongst other symptoms, in sufferers. One of the most common subsets of dementia is Alzheimer's, which is a progressive physical degradation of the brain.
According to BRACE, there are over 100 different types of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-70% of cases.
Whilst the following apps will not cure the condition, they can help slow down their loss of memory and independence. This list of apps is far from exhaustive, and there are many more other great apps out there.
1. My Reef 3D is helpful for advanced sufferers
My Reef 3D is a great app for advanced sufferers of dementia. They will find it fun and very easy to use.
Within the game, users get to interact with around 14 different types of virtual fish. Activities within the game include stocking the aquarium with fish and interacting with the tank.
Functions include tapping the glass to annoy the fish which react in funny and unexpected ways. You can, like a real tank, also just sit back and enjoy the show.
2. Game Show can improve memory
Game Show is a cool application to help people improve their memory. It has been shown by some studies to also help with the earliest stages of dementia.
It was developed by the University of Cambridge, and dementia users were shown to have an impressive 40% increase in memory and thinking tests. Whilst it cannot cure dementia, it can help slow down the advancement of memory and thinking loss.
Dr. Tara Spires-Jones believes apps like this are very promising indeed. "[A]ctivities that engage your brain like learning and certain kinds of 'cognitive training' increase connections between brain cells.
More connections provide what is called a cognitive reserve and make the brain able to withstand the damage caused by diseases like Alzheimer's for longer than if you have fewer connections". She said.
The game is available through Peak on Google Play and iTunes.
3. Talking Tom Cat 2 is fun for all
Talking Tom Cat 2 is a great little app game for anyone with Alzheimer's. With this game, you can talk to the main cat character, and he will repeat it straight back.
Tom the cat, can also be prodded, stroked or brushed utilizing your smart device's tactile touchscreen. It includes incentives for interaction through coin games by challenging Tom or by playing other mini-games.
The cat can also be dressed in various outfits and had other functions like many other virtual pets out there. This game is both entertaining and engaging and will keep users occupied for hours on end.
4. Nymbl is great for improving balance
The risk of falling over is an ever-present fear for the elderly. Not only can it physically injure them, but it has immeasurable impacts on their confidence and emotional health.
That's where apps like Nymbl could prove invaluable to them. It was tested by residents at a Care Home in West Yorkshire with some interesting and promising results. After about 4 weeks of use, residents had a marked improvement in independence and were more likely to participate in physical activities.
Its development was based on 35 years of clinical research, and it also offers a range of balance tools for health providers, including fall risk assessments, digital balance evaluations, and 15-minute balance training interventions.
5. Iridis helps users make their homes 'dementia friendly'
Developed by Stirling University, Iridis helps people prepare their homes to make them dementia friendly. It offers advice on the lighting to use, furniture to have, how to improve color contrast and reduce unnecessary noise sources.
The app will help you make quick assessments of your home and provides a report on recommendations to consider.
The app was designed in conjunction with Space Architects, the app is used mainly for the family or care workers of people living at home but can also be adapted for hospitals and care homes.
6. Timeless is an app for Alzheimer's patients
Timeless, according to their own website, "is a first-of-its-kind, simple, easy to use the app for Alzheimer’s patients to remember events, stay connected and engaged with friends and family, and to recognize people through artificial intelligence-based facial recognition technology."
It is a first-of-its-kind app built to help Alzheimer's patients improve their quality of life. The app is easy to use and helps them remember events, stay connected with friends and family, and helps them recognize faces and names.
Timeless makes use of AI technology and face recognition to slow down memory loss. It also helps build, or at least maintain, Alzheimer patient self-confidence and esteem.
7. Alzheimer's Society's Talking Point Forum helps patients talk to each other
Alzheimer's Society's Talking Point Forum is a free app built by the Alzheimer's Society in the UK. It was developed as a form of online support and discussion forum for dementia and Alzheimer's sufferers.
The idea of the app is to act as a meeting and discussion space for sufferers to read others' experiences, ask for advice, share their thoughts, and join in discussions.
But, above all, its main benefit is to help patients' understand they are not alone and help build support communities amongst those who understand their situation the most.
8. A Walk Through Dementia helps non-sufferers understand dementia
A Walk Through Dementia is an interesting app that helps non-sufferers understand the plight of dementia patients. The app was created by Alzheimer's Research UK and VISYON, and provides users with a virtual, immersive insight into the condition.
It uses a combination of CGI and 360-degree users what life is like for Alzheimer sufferers.
Featuring three scenarios, users get to experience buying ingredients in a supermarket, taking them home and making a cup of tea for their family.
This app will help you understand your loved one's plight to better empathize with them.