Top eight iPad apps to support people with dementia

Tablets and touchscreen devices such as iPads are very useful in helping people with dementia engage with their community.

iPads are tactile, versatile and very simple to use and the apps make it easy to play accessible games, which help memory, interaction and can support people with dementia.

There is no end of great content which can be accessed using an iPad and all it takes is the touch of a screen. They are suitable for use even for those with advanced dementia, as the interaction is designed to be straightforward at all times.

(To find out more about learning the essential skills required to use computers, tablets and smart phones, click here.)

Here are some great apps that people to try: 

My Life Story
The Australian designed ‘My Life Story’ app allows people with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia to record their life stories and memories. This can then be used as a tool for reminiscing, getting to know the person and to educate professional caregivers about the person and their lives.

Talking Tom 2
You can talk to Tom and he repeats what you say in his own hilarious voice. You can also stroke him, poke him, challenge him and earn gold coins in a mini-game. You can dress him in new outfits and play silly mini games. Great for a bit of fun, interaction and contact with a talking virtual pet. Talking Ginger is another similar alternative.

My Reef 3D
This app is great as users can interact with the fish, or just sit back and enjoy life on a beautiful reef. Featuring 14 types of vibrant tropical fish, MyReef 3D lite includes species-specific movement and interaction. You can individually select the inhabitants of your aquarium, and even annoy them by tapping on the “glass”. This app has a very realistic appearance and it’s very gentle and easy to use, making it ideal for individuals with advanced dementia

Let’s Create! Pottery
With this app, you can touch the screen to make pottery by throwing clay on a virtual wheel. You can smoothe the sides of the pots by dragging your finger across the screen and create a collection of pots of different shapes and sizes. This app creates a relaxing, therapeutic experience for individuals with dementia, particularly those who have creative interests.

YouTube is an enormous collection of short videos which can be easily searched for and played. Everything from film clips to old news reels to pieces of music can be found on YouTube and this allows participants to request what they would like to see. Many older people have no concept of how easy it is to once again see their favourite films or hear their favourite music.

This is best used by a carer, and is an app which builds a 3D object, animal or person and, using the iPad camera, puts it in the room so that if you look at the screen (or the projector screen if the iPad is plugged in to it), you see everything just as it was before but there is a new object in the room. It also locks it to a particular position so even if you move the iPad, it still seems to be there. Using what they know about the participants, you can build something relevant to their lives (ie a pig for a farmer, a ballerina for a dancer or even a car for a motoring enthusiast).

One of the best things about iPad apps is that they can play a part in bringing back activities which participants have missed from years gone by. FlowerGarden allows you to pick virtual seeds, plant them, water them and watch them grow. This is especially significant for participants who used to enjoy growing plants and are missing their former gardens. iPads are able to provide activities which replicate things which mean a great deal to older people

The MindMate App is not your ordinary Alzheimer’s or Dementia App. MindMate is like a friend and guardian angel – always ready to help and always happy to entertain. It has a games section focusing on attention, memory, speed and problem solving. It can help medical staff and carers know more about the person living with dementia and give reminders to brush your teeth and exercise and nutritional advice. And it’s free.

Did you find this article informative? 

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About Oxley Home Care:

Oxley Home Care, established in 2006, is a family-owned Sydney company and is an Approved Government Provider for aged care services, specialising in Dementia Care.

Oxley Home Care provides Dementia Care, Private Care, Home Care, Nursing, Veterans Home Care and Allied Health to enable people to live a quality life independently in their own home and stay connected to their local community.

Oxley Home Care is an Approved Provider of Home Care Packages funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and holds an allocation of Home Care Packages. These packages are designed to provide assistance to the elderly, to remain living independently at home.

To gain access to a Home Care Package, the government requires that you undergo a comprehensive assessment by your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). To arrange the assessment, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit the My Aged Care web site.

For more information, please feel free to call Oxley Home Care on 1300 993 591.

Gilian Douglass

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