Ali Rogan, External Affairs Director at Tunstall Healthcare and Chair of the Dementia-friendly technology task and finish group on behalf of Alzheimer’s Society (pictured above, left), talks about the Dementia-friendly technology charter, which launched today at The Alzheimer’s Show in Manchester.
The room was packed at The Alzheimer’s Show and I must say, I had a tear in my eye. Hazel Blears MP had just given a heart-warming speech about her mum, Dorothy, who had recently passed away as a result of her dementia. Whilst she described the excellent diagnosis and support her mum received, she spoke about how she had gone missing a number of times and how useful GPS technology might have been to keep her safe. She also described how helpful an alarms system had been, which alerted her dad if she left the bed at night.
We were on next. It was a hard act to follow. Karishma Chandaria, Dementia Friendly Communities Programme Manager at Alzheimer’s Society (pictured above, right) described all the fantastic work the Society is doing to promote and raise awareness of dementia and the launch of the Dementia-friendly technology charter. Born out of the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge and the Dementia-Friendly Communities programme, the journey began back in November 2013.
I went on to describe how we drew together a group of over 30 organisations representing health, housing, social care, academics, providers, commissioners, developers, the third sector and, most importantly, people with dementia and their families.
The overwhelming consensus of this group was the production of a Dementia-friendly technology charter with two very important aims:
- to enable every person with dementia to have the opportunity to benefit from technology appropriate to their needs
- and to enable and encourage high-level principles and best practice for those organisations providing services to people with dementia
Whilst not a solution for everyone, technology solutions can work in a variety of ways:
- to manage risks, such as fire
- support health conditions
- be fun, such as the newly launched Liverpool Museums memory app
- and to take some of the worry away by supporting loved ones
Yet still I hear stories from families who say to me, ‘if only we knew you had a system to let us know if…’
- mum had left the house at night
- if dad had come into difficulty whilst cooking
- if my gran had left the gas on
- or if granddad had got confused and missed his medication again
So whilst it’s only the beginning of the journey, here we have it – the charter is now launched and it’s slowly but surely getting to the people and organisations who need it. So sign up to the recommendations and use it as a tool to inform your teams or simply read the user stories to see how technology may help you or your family.