25th August 2017

That’s entertainment: how technology can support people with dementia to lead more fulfilling lives

Anyone who’s been on YouTube can support someone with dementia. That’s perhaps a sweeping statement and it’s potentially tricky given that dementia care is a specialist area of work. But there’s some truth in it.

Technology can bring the world of entertainment into someone’s life, offering a wealth of opportunities for the person with dementia to learn, laugh and enjoy. We say this in a new web resource that we’ve published. Used sensitively and thoughtfully, technology can enhance rather than replace human relationships and interactions.

Let the games begin

Games can encourage people to move, plus focus and interact in ways that are not always easy to provide in care settings. Games on a tablet are a good way to introduce and encourage people to the different finger movements on a touchscreen tablet. Games like iFishPond mean you can touch the screen and make the water splash and you can go fishing as well. You do not have to look for games that are specifically to do with memory or dementia. Try these:

  • Jigsaws (e.g. Jigzone.com)
  • Sudoku (e.g. the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada post a new Sudoku on their website every day)
  • Crosswords (e.g. the Crossword Network)

Radio days

Radio can entertain, engage, and help reduce feelings of isolation. It can do this for any of us but for someone with dementia, it can provide a precious link to a world of music, news and stories. Technology may need to be adapted to enable them to access this valuable resource. One Button Radio, Internet Radio and Simple Radio are all examples of things that can help. In the case of Simple Radio, you can set it up once, play a set station, at a set volume, all providing the user with a simple on-off one button operation.

Film, TV etc.  

Even though it’s only about 12 years old, YouTube – and other hosting sites like Classic Cinema Online and Open culture free movies – are now firm favourites. In our resource, we talk about how a resident of a care home , who was often disengaged, became animated when he was shown clips of vintage cars. Restoring vintage cars had been his hobby and passion. When his wife saw his reaction, she was amazed, as she hadn’t seen him so engaged in a long time. She decided to buy a tablet computer for the home.

In fact, a projector screen can be used to show old movies that, for instance, care home residents might be interested in. Popcorn can be given out when you have a chat after the movie. It’s a good group experience and it stimulates people to talk and share ideas.

Technology and dementia

It’s not just about entertainment – we have a whole resource on many different aspects of how dementia care can be supported using technology. But I find this area fascinating. Digital entertainment is something that we all use these days and many ways of supporting someone with dementia can be found at our fingertips.

Disclaimer time

The products I’ve mentioned provide ideas for consideration only. We at SCIE don’t endorse them; and if you are showing films in a communal area you might need a Public Video Screening Licence. (Filmbank have further information).

SCIE: Using technology to support people with dementia

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Topics: Dementia SCIE

Ewan King

Director of Business Development and Delivery (SCIE)

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