Dementia – Staying connected
As part of World Alzheimer Month this September, The Echo, in partnership with the HSE’s Dementia: Understand Together campaign, is featuring a series of articles on aspects of life with dementia. In this first article of the series, we focus on community and what you can do to support people with dementia and their families locally.
By Eibhlis Cahalane; Project Lead, HSE Memory Technology Resource Rooms
Over the past months, as COVID-19 has changed the world we live in, technology has helped us to stay connected with family, friends and colleagues.
From family video calls to online shopping, we have all had to adapt in different ways.
For those living with dementia, we have also seen the benefits of technology, with online dementia cafés bringing people together for a virtual cuppa, and dementia-inclusive choirs serenading us off into an online musical world.
Assistive technology can play a significant role in enhancing the independence and well-being of people living with dementia and memory difficulties, while also providing reassurance to families about their safety and welfare.
Memory Technology Resource Rooms have now been developed by the HSE in 27 locations across the country for people with memory problems including those living with dementia.
These rooms showcase a wide range of technologies and provide assessment and guidance on different products and how these may be helpful.
Among the items you can expect to see in a Memory Technology Resource Room are:
- • Automatic pill dispensers and push-button reminders with voice recordings to prompt a person to do something
- • TV remote controls and one-button radios that are accessible and easy-to-use
- • Talking photo albums and picture phones with photos of family members on the handset so that a person can make a call by pressing a picture
- • Speaking clocks, calendars, wall planners and whiteboards to provide a reminder of appointments
- • Item finders that can track down commonly mislaid items
- • Motion sensors and mobile phones with in-built trackers
Memory Technology Resource Rooms are currently offering a mix of face-to-face consultations by appointment and telephone and video appointments.
To find out more, you can speak to your GP or Public Health Nurse, or make an appointment directly with your local Memory Technology Resource Room located in St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown (01 2115186/2115196); Willow Day Hospital, Ashlin Centre, Beaumont Road, Dublin 9 (087 3383437); St. Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park, Dublin 20 (087 3383437); Primary Care Centre, Ballyfermot (087 1240373); and Memory Harbour, Clonskeagh Hospital Grounds, Clonskeagh (01 2680392/2680411).
The Dementia: Understand Together campaign is led by the HSE in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Age Friendly Ireland.
For information on assistive technologies, as well as information on how to become a dementia champion in your community, visit www.understandtogether.ie or Freefone the helpline provided by The Alzheimer Society of Ireland on 1800 341 341 (Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm).
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