Dr. John Zeisel, president and co-founder of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care and author of “I’m Still Here,” has many activities he recommends that can improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s sufferers and their families.
Listening to autobiographical music, viewing art and family photos and engaging in familiar activities are all ways you may be able to engage a person with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
The iPhone and iPod Touch have the potential to benefit those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by expanding the range of activities that are accessible to them at home. Playlists that contain familiar and favorite music can evoke emotions; and family photos, stored on an iPhone, can be easily accessible and make a great jumping off point for discussion.
If we look hard enough at what types of iPhone apps people with dementia could use, we might find some new approaches and valuable benefits that not only uplift the person, but also create a calm, engaging, brain-exercising environment.
Healthful Apps recommends four such programs that may benefit seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Koi Pond – Koi Pond has to be experienced to be believed. Once the app is opened and the volume up, you can see and hear these peaceful, beautiful fish swimming. Be sure to put your finger in the “water” and watch the koi react.
Art Gallery – Our love and appreciation of art stays with us, even in dementia. Familiar artists and styles can evoke the same feelings they did before, bringing a sense of joy or nostalgia to the user.
Serena – After creating a playlist and choosing a song, download and open the Serena app, which will search for and display the lyrics to that songs. This may trigger familiarity among the user.
Photo Labeler – It’s an easy way to label family photos. The Photo Labeler is a handy tool to have when sitting with visitors and caregivers.
Note that iPhone apps can be developed or recommended by virtually anyone, ranging from doctors who specialize in Alzheimer’s care to the average teenager. These apps are not guaranteed to benefit an Alzheimer sufferer, but may help trigger memories and familiar activities, especially for those in the earlier stages of dementia or any memory-loss disease.
Next week, the fourth and final preview of Healthful Apps, Apps for Caregivers.