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Assistive technology at home

Memory aids for dementia

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Memory aids for dementia

Our guide to the best assistive technology memory gadgets to help people with dementia, Alzheimer's or memory loss to stay safe at home.

Whether you're suffering from dementia or general memory problems, there are a range of gadgets available that could make a real difference to your life. From gadgets that prompt you to turn off the taps when running a bath to those that can help if you get lost when you're away from home, there are a wealth of products on offer.

While memory loss is a key element of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, forgetfulness can also be a part of the normal ageing process or a result of other diseases, such as depression or an underactive thyroid. If memory loss is a big worry for you, do consult your doctor who can assess its severity.

To help uncover the best memory aids, we asked a panel of assistive-technology experts to choose and review a range of memory aids - you can read their verdicts on each one in the table below. These include memory aids to stop your bath overflowing, medication reminders and pill dispensers, devices to help you monitor a relative who doesn't live with you and gadgets to stop you getting lost.

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Assistive technology - memory aids
Name of product Price What is it? Who is it for? Our verdict

Brinno PHV MAC 14 Door Viewer

Brinno PHV MAC 14 Door Viewer

£125 A motion-activated peephole camera that sits behind the peephole on a front door. Callers are detected by motion sensor and photographed with the date and time, whether or not you are at home, and can then be reviewed on the 3-inch screen, or downloaded to your computer. Anyone wary of, or vulnerable to, bogus or doorstep callers Subscriber only content

Buddi

Buddi GPS personal location tracker and fall detector

Clip and wristband set (purchase + service plan): £299 + £6/week; Lease service plan: £12/week (clip-only cheaper) A GPS personal location tracker and fall detector. The person can call for assistance or - if they travel outside their pre-set ‘safe zone’ while out- it will alert the call centre monitoring service or carer, and the system can locate them, so they can be collected. People who are prone to getting lost, falling or having medical emergencies when out. Subscriber only content

Canary

Canary activity-monitoring system

Buy £270 + £15/month monitoring; Rent from £36/month One of the activity-monitoring systems allowing people to check on relatives living elsewhere. It collects information on activity via sensors in rooms and on doors – for example, how often they use the kitchen or get up at night. It can alert you to problems, such as the person not moving in the morning, via a text or email. Visitors – such as paid home carers – can also use swipe cards when arriving and leaving.   People with dementia or who are frail and cannot communicate how they are. Subscriber only content

Dayclox (i7.1 model)

Dayclox digital day clock

£69 Easy-to-read 7-inch digital day clock showing the day, time and date. It automatically dims at night. People with early or moderate dementia, partial sight or low vision. Subscriber only content

Envirotxt

Envirotxt temperature monitor

£99 A small plug-in unit with a Sim card monitors the temperature in a frail relative's home and alerts you by text if the temperature rises or drops outside pre-set limits, or if there's a mains power failure. A frail relative who could mistakenly turn off or unplug the heating system, or have a power cut. Subscriber only content

Innohome Stove Alarm

Innohome stove alarm

£30 The battery-operated Stove Alarm is attached beneath your gas or electric cooker hood with magnets, or to the wall or cooker panel with screws. It learns how you use the cooker (to prevent false alarms) and sounds an alarm when the cooker temperatures rise, before a fire ignites. Someone easily distracted or forgetful who leaves the cooker turned on and unattended, risking a fire. Subscriber only content

Lifemax Home Safety Alert Mark II

Lifemax Home Safety Alert Mark II

£49 A wireless battery-operated, home pager alert system. Includes a base station receiver and two transmitter pendants with both a call and a panic button (for emergencies) with a range up to 30 metres. You could keep one pager permanently in, say, the bathroom. Families caring for a sick or disabled relative at home. Subscriber only content

Magiplug

Magiplug bath device

£9 This bath plug design works using a pressure-activated system – when your bath reaches a certain depth, the pressure plate in the plug opens to drain the excess water down your plughole. What’s more, it changes colour when the water gets too hot, to prevent you getting into a scalding bath. People with memory problems or who are easily distracted. Subscriber only content

Memo Minder Mark II

Memo Minder mark 11

£19.50 The motion detector senses someone walking past and plays a personalised message in a relative’s voice – for example when placed at the front door: ‘Mum, don’t forget your keys.’ You can also use it to record a very short message to remind you or someone else of the day's tasks. Someone living alone who needs reminding about a specific task. Subscriber only content

Pivotell electronic pill dispenser Mk 3-11

PivoTell automatic pill dispenser

£114 You put up to 28 days’ medication in the box and it sounds an alert when you’re due to take it, stopping when you remove the tablets. Aimed to help those with memory difficulties, it can link up to a monitoring centre. People who need a reminder to take medication, possibly several types, or whose poor memory puts them in danger of repeated doses. Subscriber only content

Telecare system

pendant alarm

POA

Telecare systems monitor vulnerable people and can send alerts when help is needed. At its most basic, telecare enables a person to call for help by pressing an alarm button on a watch or pendant. More intelligent pendants can also sense a fall. Both alert a call centre to organise help. Other sensors around a home can flag risks, such as someone not returning to bed within a pre-set time. Sensors can include:

  • smoke/heat sensors
  • bed exit/occupancy sensors (underneath mattress)
  • flood detectors
  • door-exit sensors
  • natural gas detector
  • carbon monoxide detector
People who can’t monitor or respond to risks - such as fire or falling - themselves. Subscriber only content

Truecall Care (re-named Truecall Secure)

Truecall Care (re-named Truecall Secure)

£120 This phone system can block unwanted callers while letting trusted callers through. Other callers hear a personalised message, directing them, for example, to ring a family member who can check the call is bona fide. The trusted and barred caller logs can be remotely managed over the internet or a telephone handset. People that are particularly vulnerable to telephone cold-calling tactics or want help with unwanted callers. Subscriber only content

Table notes: All prices include VAT, unless otherwise specified. Enquire if delivery costs are additional as this varies.

Other assistive technology and safety gadgets

Key locators and other locator devices

Key-locator devices work by attaching small sensors to any items that you frequently need – such as keys, reading glasses or your wallet.

A remote control with a transmitter will then track down any of these items that you mislay, by activating a loud audible alarm from the sensor that is attached to the item. They cost around £10 to £30.

Our Elderly Care website has more advice about safety and wellbeing in and out of the home.

Gas and smoke detectors

Smoke alarms and gas detectors that emit an audible alarm are vital if you're in danger of forgetting that you have turned on or left on the cooker. They are also available as part of a telecare package, alerting a call centre if an alarm is triggered.

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