The Dementia-Friendly Home app was launched by Alzheimer’s Australia,Vic today.
Using interactive 3D game technology the tablet app provides carers with ideas to make their home more accessible for people living with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Australia (Vic) Maree McCabe CEO says most people are not aware that people with dementia may experience spatial and visual challenges, as well as the more commonly understood memory issues.
“Changes in the brain can impact on day to day functions and potentially confuse people living with dementia. Identifying ways the home and environment can be modified to ameliorate any challenges will make a difference to the person living with dementia,” says McCabe.
With 70% of people with dementia living in the community, the app enables the home to be made more dementia-friendly. This can allow the person to stay in their own home, enjoy their regular lifestyle activities and remain engaged with their community for longer.
“This app aims to enable people living with dementia to maintain their independence and continue living at home. It may also help build on their self-esteem, which can have a profound impact on the quality of life for a person living with dementia, as well as families and carers.”
Based on ten Dementia Enabling Environment Principles, The app recommends practical changes that prompt a carer to think about how the home can be changed in a way that may assist the person living with dementia. Many of the app suggestions are small, inexpensive ideas, such as placing labels with pictures on cupboard doors. More significant changes include installing motion sensors that turn lights on and off when people walk through the house and changing busily patterned wall or floor coverings.
Norm Smith, a carer, says he wanted to help his wife Cathy, 53 and living with dementia, to feel comfortable in their family home.
“Using the app affirmed ideas I’d had around labelling cupboards and keeping floors and hallways clear and well lit.
“It also made me realise I need to try to pre-empt situations that could be challenging for Cathy when we visit other people’s homes or our church.
“Enabling Cathy to remain involved in the daily routine, even just being able to make a cup of tea for herself and guests, to contribute to the household planning and activity is really important to us and impacts positively on her and our family,” says Smith.
The app is available for iPad from the App Store and Android tablets from the Google Play Store for $2.99.