The results of a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society demonstrate that people who are older and have mild dementia can make use of devices for memory that assist them in remembering to complete daily tasks that are crucial to their daily lives.
In the study 52 older adults suffering from mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia were coached on how to make use of a digital voice recorder app or an app to remind them.
Participants reported that they had made improvements in their daily intentions after a four-week intervention. They also performed relatively well when the investigators assigned them with tasks, with levels of performance favoring the reminder app in week 1, but reversing to favor the digital voice recorder app in week 4. Greater usage of the digital recorder or reminder apps was associated with better memory and greater improvement in daily activities living.
The study’s authors say that smartphone aids are free and widely available and should be shared with patients and caregivers to support the quality of life and independence functioning.
Although there is a widespread belief that older adults don’t like technology We found that our people loved using apps for memory and were able to increase their memory performance on a daily basis. Technology companies have an opportunity to increase the widespread use of smartphone memory aids among older adults and persons who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease by tailoring the interface and user experience of their apps for reminders to this population and including age-related diversity into their marketing campaigns. Innovative technology companies can have a an important contribution to improving the quality of living and functioning for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias.
Michael K. Scullin, PhD, Lead Author, Baylor University
Scullin, M.K., and. (2021) Using smartphone technology to improve prospective memory functioning: A randomized controlled study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. doi.org/10.1111/jgs.17551.
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