Assistive Tech & Products

Disability and gadgets: Dementia… who’s innovating?

Robert Wemyss is the IT guru at Really Useful Stuff. RUS is delighted to join in with Disability Horizons to offer a monthly roundup of all things tech and gadget. We will take a quick look at new ideas on the horizon as well as great new inventions already on the market that make life easier and a lot more fun.


Today there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK with expectations that it will risie to 1 million people by 2025. Dementia has several types and everyone will experience the condition in different ways. Dementia is a progressive condition, which means that symptoms, which include problems with language, memory, understanding and thinking speed, will get gradually worse over time.

With no known cure it’s important that we find a way to help people to live well with dementia – technology may not at first glance seem like something that can help someone who is experiencing cognitive loss – however there are lots of people who are innovating for dementia care.

I have picked out a few of my favourite gizmos and gadgets that can ease the frustration of memory loss.

To Know Me Books

To Know Me BooksTo Know Me books are designed to showcase the lives, needs and preferences of people living with dementia and other conditions which affect a person’s ability to express themselves clearly. Through the books carers and medical professionals can quickly and simply learn more about the social, emotional and practical needs of the people in their care. You can download the App and add photos and create books on the go.

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See What I Mean

See What I MeanSee What I Mean is an app which translates words into pictures, as for people living with dementia words can become increasingly hard to understand, making communication and social interaction difficult. This translation means that for most people living with dementia, an image communicates an idea or emotion more clearly than a word.

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Oscar - 1Oscar is a tablet for your elderly parent. Oscar is a remotely managed communication tablet app for seniors who are uncomfortable or not experienced with computers. Stay in touch with family, friends and caregivers via text and picture messages, voice and video call. You can see on your phone/computer what is happening on your grandma´s tablet to guide and help her if she gets stuck.

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Simple Music Player

Simple Music Player1The ‘Simple Music Player‘ has been designed to be as easy as possible to operate for the end user; that is, the person with dementia. Setting up the player is undertaken by friends, family or carers, as a one-time process. Extensive trialling has verified that the operation is highly intuitive and does not require any prior knowledge or memory to start and stop the player. The styling is also reminiscent of old radios and is instantly recognisable as something which plays music, a simple music player for dementia.

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MyhomehelperMyhomehelper comes pre-installed on a tablet device that has been configured to run the system optimally from the moment that you turn it on. A simple set-up system can be accessed by family members and carers to tailor the system to suit individual needs via the myhomehelper website, from anywhere that has access to an internet connection – be that at home, work or even on holiday. It has been designed as an “always on” system and once set-up only needs to be maintained when new activities, appointments or photos etc. need adding.

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OwnfoneOwnFone is the little personalised phone that connects you directly to the most important people in your life – that’s it! Small and light, credit card-sized weighing only 40g and with a long battery life. Personalised. You chose the design and numbers and it’s ready to use straight from the box. To make a call you just press a name.

If you know someone with dementia check out to see if you can become their tech guru.

By Robert Wemyss

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