Dementia, AI and simple tech tweaks to help - with Alzheimer's Society

AbilityNet, in partnership with BT Group logo

This free webinar took place on Wednesday 10 July 2024 between 1pm - 2pm BST to discuss how technology can provide a helping hand to people with dementia or cognitive disabilities.

Research shows there are more than 944,000 people in the UK living with dementia*. With people living longer, the number of people with dementia is increasing - now 1 in 11 people over the age of 65 have dementia in the UK. 

In this free webinar, expert speakers from AbilityNet were joined by guest speakers from: 

  • Alzheimer's Society - offering advice for navigating the digital world with Alzheimer's disease, dementia or cognitive issues, and tech adjustments that can make a big difference.
  • Recreo VR - shared how it has been working with Alzheimer's Society to use virtual reality to improve well-being among people with dementia.

Watch the recording below and download a copy of the transcript and slides. You can also explore answered questions about Dementia and tech from our panel of experts.

Who will benefit from this webinar?

The session will benefit:Older woman and younger woman smiling at a table with a tablet being operated by the older lady

  • People with dementia
  • Carers of people with dementia
  • Health professionals working with people with dementia
  • People interested in dementia
  • Web and Accessibility professionals interested in design and digital considerations for people with dementia

If you work for an organisation that helps older people or people with dementia or those with cognitive disabilities, this webinar shares useful resources and advice to help your clients.

This session is part of AbilityNet's work with telecommunications company BT Group to help older and digitally excluded people to build online skills and confidence.


This webinar lasted 60 minutes and included an opportunity to pose questions to the panel. Any unanswered questions will be answered on this page after the webinar broadcast. Find out more about our webinars in our FAQs information.

Q: How do you know which AI to use, which are free? Is any voice activated? Do they work with Dragon?

Alex Barker: It is difficult to know which Artificial Intelligence client to use. The one that I tend to use mostly is Chat GPT, although it is my favourite AI client, it doesn’t do tasks like summarise documents. If you want to do this, you’re better off using Poe. You can certainly use voice recognition to give your preferred AI client a prompt asking it to come up with some content. 

Q: The Alzheimer's Society dementia friendly technology guide was a good resource. Do you still use it?

Angelo Makri: We have a number of different dementia friendly technology guides, with the main one located on our website. We also have dementia friendly technology guides for different types of organisations, which can found on our website.

Q: What is sun downing?

Angelo Makri: Sometimes you might see changes in the person’s behaviour in the later afternoon or towards the end of the day. During this time the person may become intensely distressed, agitated and have hallucinations or delusions. This may continue into the night, making it hard for them to get enough sleep. This is sometimes known as ‘sundowning’ but is not necessarily linked to the sun setting or limited to the end of the day. Sundowning can happen at any stage of dementia but is more common during the middle stage and later stages. You can read more about sun downing on our website.

Q: Can people in the United States access help from the tech volunteers virtually?

Alex Barker: Providing that we can find a volunteer who is prepared to take the job on, I’m sure we can assist. You can request help from our friendly tech volunteers on our website.

Can you recommend any GPS trackers that do not need charging every few days?

Alex Barker: The thing you need to be aware of is that if you have a GPS tracker, it will update it’s location every so often. Depending on how often you ask it to update the location will determine the battery life. For example, Techsilver offer a tracker which is waterproof and doesn’t need charging for a long time.

Q: Is there tech available to monitor changes of ambience and atmosphere in a room where a person is resting?

Alex Barker: There are a range of smart thermometers and these should allow you to keep a check on the ambient temperature in a room where your loved one is resting. 

Q: We are looking after parents with dementia, all children live remote so looking for recommendations for password managers that can be shared with family, key lock boxes so we can alert neighbours if we get an alert as we leave etc.?

Alex Barker: You can share passwords with other family members via password managers. Someone actively needs to share the password with other family members. There is a good article from Cyber News which recommends some password managers

As for key boxes there are a few to choose from, you can check out this article from The Standard.

Looking for the session slides and transcript?

You can download the slidedeck for the webinar [PPT]

You can download the transcript for the webinar [DOC]

Meet the panellists

Profile image of Alex Barker looking at the cameraAlex Barker, Disability Consultant, AbilityNet

Alex Barker has worked for AbilityNet for nearly 20 years and recently became a Disability Consultant at the charity. Alex has Moebius Syndrome, a very rare condition that causes paralysis in facial muscles, club foot, missing limbs and sometimes cognitive issues too. So he understands a lot of the difficulties disabled people have when using technology.

Angleo Makri, Alzheimer's Society

Alzheimer's Society logoAngelo MakriAngelo is the Senior Knowledge Officer for Wellbeing at Alzheimer’s Society, the UK's largest Dementia charity. Angelo has degrees in law and psychology, and has extensive experience of dementia care from working on the National Dementia Helpline in numerous roles, including Adviser, then Helpline Coordinator, and lastly Helpline Supervisor. He has trained staff in many areas of dementia care, including effective communication, managing changes in behaviour, and supporting the wellbeing of carers.

In the webinar, Angelo discussed how the charity has been using technology to help people with dementia and their carers.

Recreo VR logoSam Rooker, Recreo VR

Recreo VR brings virtual reality (VR) into the daily practices of care facilities, ensuring a transformative and enriching experience for all involved. The agency has been working with Alzheimer's Society to bring bespoke and immersive VR experiences to improve the mental and social well-being of people with dementia.

AbilityNet and BT Group logoDo you know an elderly person or a group of older people who want to know more about using digital devices?
We are offering a set of tailored Digital Skills sessions to people aged 65+ in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow. Group and individual sessions available.

Useful links

*NHS website accessed January 2024

Date of webinar: 
10 Jul 2024 - 13:00