Peace of remind for dementia sufferers as care home turns to technology

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dementia sufferers at a Yorkshire care home are being given help with their memory using a state-of-the art approach to give them key reminders.

The innovative system has been designed by former computer programmer Kevin Marsch’s following his own experience with the condition.

The 39-year-old, from Hull, has been caring for his mother Patricia for the past two years after she was diagnosed with vascular dementia which occurs when the oxygen supply fails and brain cells die.

During the early stages of her illness, he started receiving up to 20 calls a day from her because she was unable to remember when he was due to visit.

He began putting simple messages on her computer which made her less anxious and since then he has developed the technology which is now being trialled at the Pexton Grange care home in Pitsmoor, Sheffield, where it is being tested by staff from the city’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

It allows them to post practical messages and reminders to residents about events taking place on a monitor in the home’s lounge and can also provide reminders of visits from relatives and carers, as well as social activities.

Mr Marsch said: “My mother has been using the system for nearly three years now and, although her condition is getting worse, she says it’s like a comfort blanket to her, which is great because it proves she still has a strong recognition of it despite the challenges of her illness.”

Specialist nurse Jayne Stocks said: “Although technology will never replace face-to-face care, in conjunction with formal and informal care it can help meet individual and families care needs.

“Since the care home has started using the technology, fewer relatives have been asking what time daily events are scheduled to happen as this information is available on the system. It’s also reduced the number of questions about key visits, such as when the chiropodist is coming, freeing up time for staff to spend more time assisting patients.”

The myhomehelper system recently won the People’s Choice award at the Technology4Good Awards.