Top 3 Things We Learned at Dementia/Aging Events Last Week

Last week we had the pleasure of attending two very special events:

The Meeting of the Minds Dementia Conference was hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota – North Dakota and the Mayo Clinic. Attendees included people living with dementia, care partners, health care professionals and technology researchers. Our MemorySparx booth was a hub for many meaningful conversations. 

Walk With Me was hosted by the Research Institute for Aging and brought together older adults, care partners, educators, policy makers, students and researchers. In partnership with the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program, Our Chief Experience Officer Jennifer Krul (pictured with Karen Johnson, the Director of McCormick Dementia Services) presented on the topic of Engaging People with Dementia in Technology Projects.

Here are the 3 important things we learned at these events:

1. People living with dementia want to feel as “normal” as possible

We ALL want to feel like ourselves, but especially so when we are learning to live with a new health condition. Some people use the term “New Normal” to describe the shift from before a dementia diagnosis to afterwards, but we like the term “YOU Normal”. Everyone’s sense of what’s normal is different, from how sociable we like to be to the types of exercise we enjoy. Tap into what makes YOU tick. Write it down. Tell a loved one.

The MemorySparx One app supports the “YOU Normal” by letting you fill your day’s agenda and photo albums with the people and activities that matter to YOU the most – keep it on hand for easy reference so that you can focus on just being yourself.

2. People want tools and programs to help extend/adapt the activities they enjoy

Everyone wants the “YOU Normal” to last for as long as possible, and everyone has a right to joyful moments every day. Visiting your local Alzheimer’s Society can be a helpful resource for finding social groups and activities where you feel comfortable and invigorated. A lot of people report feeling inspired to get involved with advocacy and research programs. The Blue Umbrella Program educates businesses and organizations in your community on how to be dementia-inclusive, so that you know a friendly face will be waiting when you go shopping or out for lunch.

MemorySparx One helps you feel prepared for your favorite activities and confident interacting with people because you can always have the relevant details (including helpful photos) with you. You can keep doing the things you enjoy.

3. There is a wave of technology use among people living with dementia

Researchers, health care professionals, and care partners have discovered the power of technology to bring happiness and engagement to those living with dementia. Now people can ride a stationary bike outfitted with a movie screen to get the immersive experience of pedaling through the towns they grew up in. Trivia games, weather forecasts, online shopping and the news are all accessible by voice. And there are countless options online for brain games when people want to stay sharp and have fun.

MemorySparx One has a reputation for being both useful and user-friendly technology: over 1000 hours were spent in collaboration with people living with dementia in order to design the interface. Even people who didn't consider themselves tech-savvy find it easy to use. Having your iPad with you is a dignified and discrete way to recall the information you need, everywhere you go!

Try MemorySparx One free for 30 days and see how it supports the "YOU Normal"!

Heather Hickey