Dementia among the elderly is a very common issue, and it’s estimated that at least 25% of all caregivers for adults over 50 are caring for someone with cognitive impairment or dementia.
Research shows that the use of iPads by people with dementia and Alzheimer’s can improve cognitive, mobility and communication skills. In fact, brain-boosting games and apps have been found to improve multi-tasking ability, memory and focus, gradually integrating into everyday life, according to Alzheimers.net.
Why use an iPad?
There are several benefits to using iPad apps. They:
- are lightweight
- are interactive
- offer a new, refreshing approach to learning
- can monitor the movements and habits of dementia patients
- can trigger memories through music
- give more opportunity to interact with family members
- encourage creativity and mobility
So, which iPad apps are the best? In general, apps that help with cognition, memory, attention span, reminders and even relaxation are considered the best for dementia patients.
1. Labyrinth 2 HD (link)
Keeping the brain active is a top goal with any iPad app for those with dementia. That’s why Labyrinth 2 HD is so great: it exercises the brain with a variety of levels that vary in complexity. Start off with very easy levels that allow users to navigate mazes, then advance to more complex ones that are peppered with more challenges such as holes and cannons.
2. Draw Free (link)
To encourage creativity in users, this app allows users to let their inner artist out with a simple-to-use platform. You can doodle, you can draw, you can paint — whatever it takes to bring your ideas to life!
3. iFish Pond (link)
This app encourages relaxation and peace, something that calms dementia patients greatly. You can customize your very own pond, choosing which creatures will reside there. From lily pads and fully interactive fish to stereo sound effects and ambient background noise, iFish Pond puts you in control of your own beautiful pond setting. You can even make ripples in the water and fish for bass with the virtual fishing rod.
4. Let’s Create! Pottery (link)
With a simple touch, you can smooth out the sides of your own clay creation as it spins on the virtual wheel. Offering a relaxing, therapeutic experience, it’s easy and satisfying to create your own collection of pots, vases and more in a variety of sizes.
5. MindMate (link)
The dementia patient is never alone with MindMate. Always standing by to provide entertainment, this app offers a variety of games designed to enhance memory, speed, problem solving, and attention span. There are also reminders to brush teeth, eat healthy and much more.
All of these apps can be found on Apple’s iPad for free or at a low cost. Finally, it’s important to remember that while these apps have a lot of benefits, they cannot replace the value of other daily activities and care offered by assisted living facilities.
Jared Banz is passionate about technology, strong black coffee and all things marketing. When not working, Jared enjoys exploring new places and the great outdoors with his wife Linnea. Connect with Jared on Twitter (@jaredbanz).
The AmuseIT app is another activity option. AmuseIT supports communication and engagement between the caregiver and person living with dementia through a simple and yet very visual quiz questions. It also works well with small groups with a caregiver.