There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and their numbers are set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. It is not a specific disease but an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive conditions affecting the brain.
Dementia cannot be cured and anyone diagnosed with dementia will require increasing care and support as their condition worsens. Some people may suffer from different types of dementia – such as Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia – but each person’s experience will be unique to them.
In addition to memory loss, dementia symptoms include difficulties with language, thinking, and concentration, as well as periods of mental confusion, and changes in personality and mood. Some dementia sufferers can also become withdrawn from social interaction and suffer from depression. However, during the early stages of dementia, much can be done to help the person to maintain as much of their independence and autonomy as possible.
Computer technology can help to make life easier for people with dementia and their carers. This factsheet summarises some of the key ways it can help support people with dementia to achieve greater independence and autonomy, including by:
- assisting with everyday living
- reducing risk and increasing safety
- helping with memory and recall
- maintaining social contact.
These benefits can all help to improve confidence and the quality of life for someone with dementia while also providing important support and reassurance to carers. With the involvement of family members and carers, computer activities for people with dementia can also help to strengthen relationships, inter-generational interactions and social connections.