In the rising era of technology, more people are now depending on gadgets for different purposes. Although many of us use them for entertainment, work or daily chores, one of the main goals of technology development is to help society and deliver a positive change to the way we live. This focus is particularly important for vulnerable people, especially those living with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Among the many technological innovations that help people with dementia, assistive technology has stood out as having the most potential to improve the quality of life of older adults. With new devices coming up so often, it's difficult to choose one that has the required features and functionality to actually make a difference. Today, we take a look at one of the most popular voice activated devices: Google Home.
What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology (AT) consists of devices that have the ability to support people with disabilities or the elderly population in living their everyday lives. This can include communicating, remembering specific information, planning and maintaining overall independence.
Assistive technology and dementia
As the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's symptoms often prevent those affected from living a normal everyday life. Although many use assistive technology for multiple disabilities, those with cognitive diseases can really benefit from these gadgets.
AT can help them become more independent, stay safer and more involved in daily activities. In fact, assistive technology devices are so beneficial in dementia care, that caregivers would use them regardless of having to fund the purchase of AT themselves (Sriram et al. 2020).
Although there is a wide range of assistive devices for different purposes, voice assistants for elderly people have become increasingly popular. Commonly known as one of the best voice assistants on the market, Google Home has made its way into the older generation, delivering numerous benefits for its users.
How does Google Home work?
Google Home is a smart speaker which takes voice commands through Google Assistant. You can ask it to play music, set an alarm, tell you the weather forecast and even read you the news. Unlike Amazon Echo, Google Home has access to a wider pool of information and enables more natural conversations through its distinctive language processing algorithm. This means that it will feel as though you're interacting with an actual human.
When connected to compatible smart products such as light bulbs, thermostats and cameras, it can also perform more advanced tasks like turning the lights on and off, adjusting temperature and more. All you need to do is say "Hey Google" followed by a command, and it will automatically carry out a desired action.
How does Google Home support people with dementia and Alzheimer's?
There are plenty of benefits using a smart device like Google Home to support a person with dementia, their carers and family members.
More independence for seniors
Google Home Hub can work for elderly people as an extension of their own abilities. Even those with mobility issues and reduced vision can draw great benefits from this little gadget. If you have trouble moving around the house or can't remember where the light switch is, you can ask Google to adjust the lights for you.
The same goes for those who forget to take their medication. You or your loved ones can set reminders which go off when it's time to take your treatment.
Improves communication with family and carers
Many of those suffering from Alzheimer's often feel alienated from their families. With Google Home, you can keep in touch with your loved ones at any time of day via voice or video calls. This also comes in handy for social and senior care providers - you can reach out to your caregiver easily whenever you need something.
Helps to create a daily routine
Use Google Home to create pre-scheduled routines, so you don't miss out on anything. Whether it's someone's birthday, the code to your front door or turning the TV on, the device can do this for you when set up in advance.
A digital companion for those feeling lonely
Those requiring specialist care services tend to struggle with companionship, mainly because their families and loved ones don't always have the time to be around them. You can ask Google Home to play games, tell you a story or sing a song. Google Assistant always responds in a warm, friendly way and never gets frustrated. For seniors with impaired hearing, you can just turn the volume up.
Scares off intruders
Google Home speakers have a built-in Burglar Deterrent feature that is meant to scare off any intruders. The device will play loud sounds, alerting strangers that your home is not empty. Although it cannot call the emergency services, it does support calls to your list of contacts, so if you've happened to have an accident, you can tell it to call a family member.
Sova Healthcare is a leading provider of specialist home care services for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease. We are avid believers in the positive difference assistive technology makes in complex and social care, which is why offer a free Google Home device as part of our care plan package. Get in touch with our expert team today!