NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that destroys memory and eventually the brain.
As terrible as it is for the patient, it’s often even harder for the family and caregivers. Thankfully, technology may be making that burden a little easier.
Anyone with a relative who’s suffered and died with Alzheimer’s knows how hard it can be, emotionally and physically, to care for a loved one with dementia.
On Tuesday, companies demonstrated how their products would make life better for both caregiver and patient at Caring Kind Headquarters.
“She was a chauffeur, cook, travel planner, babysitter, everything for the family,” Jessica Gonzalez says of her mother, who four years ago was officially diagnosed with what the family feared most; Alzheimer’s.
Her father cares for mom during the day, and Jessica helps in the evenings and on weekends. She describes it as both exhausting and frustrating.
Looking for help is what brought Jessica to the tech fair at Caring Kind, an exhibit of a wide variety of products for both patient and caregiver. It’s not a cure or even treatment for the disease, but it’s incredibly valuable nonetheless.
“In absence of a cure, the best treatment is good care,” Executive Vice President Jed Levine said. “Unless you’ve done it you don’t know how demanding, how draining it is to care for someone with dementia and anything we can do to make that journey a little bit easier, a little bit lighter, that’s great.”
There are simple things live gravity straws to make it easier to hydrate, inexpensive hearing aids to keep patients connected, smart insoles to track movement and foot ulcers, and even virtual reality to allow patients to go places or even weddings and birthdays of loved ones.
Special sensor pads can help predict urinary tract infections. Simple technologies like an iPod with a custom music playlist from their younger days can bring a patient tremendous joy.
“It calms mom down and she doesn’t get anxious when we leave the room,” Gonzales said.
The right product, of course, depends on your own personal situation. That’s why Caring Kind has compiled a summary of the products, what they are and how to get them.
For an extensive list, visit their WEBSITE.