The care sector could become a major adopter of the latest smart watches and GPS gadgets after it was claimed that mobile and wearable technology could assist with dementia isolation.
Researchers believe that ‘assistive tech’ could be used to support people with dementia and hold the key to cutting social isolation.
Wearable technology, satellite tracking and mobile phone apps are the latest tools in the fight against social isolation from dementia, unlocking the potential for increased independence.
And boffins at Manchester Metropolitan University, working with Stockport Memory Clinic and KMS Solutions, are analysing these technologies to establish their best use for people with dementia and for their carers.
Josie Tetley, professor of nursing in ageing and long-term conditions at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “We will work closely with the end people living with dementia and their carers. The use of the different technology options will be studied in the daily lives of a small group of research participants to analyse the potential acceptability and usability of them. Based on this, the project will analyse the potential of these technologies to reduce social isolation and improve health outcomes.”
John Hearns, managing director of KMS Solutions Ltd, said: “The technologies we have developed can support independent living in the community by enabling the person living with dementia to move independently in safe areas, the carer to locate them using GPS tracking and the person with dementia or their carer to contact each other in case of an emergency.”
In 2015, it was estimated that there were 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. As a result of the memory, physical and communication challenges, people with dementia and their unpaid carers may experience social isolation and loneliness.
It is part of a series of technical health projects at the University designed to employ new technologies to cut loneliness and isolation.