iPads and Alexa devices a huge benefit to dementia sufferers and carers Leeds study found

Digital technology can bring huge benefits to the health and wellbeing of people with dementia and their carers, a study in Leeds has found.
Val Hewison, chief executive of Carers Leeds.Val Hewison, chief executive of Carers Leeds.
Val Hewison, chief executive of Carers Leeds.

iPads and Alexa devices were loaned to dementia support groups, memory cafes and home carers during the NHS Digital Leeds Dementia Pathfinder project.

One carer said the technology had “changed her and her dad’s life” after she used it for medication, exercise and appointment reminders.

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Another said that using an iPad had helped him to feel less isolated as it had enabled him to continue with his hobbies as well as spend more quality time with his wife, playing games and listening to music together.

Carers said there were practical benefits, like enabling them to manage medication or get health information.

They also said it improved their wellbeing by providing them with online support, as well as an opportunity to relax, socialise and have fun.

The NHS Digital pathfinder project was run by 100 per cent Digital Leeds along with several community partners

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Almost 800 people got involved with the project over 12 months, including people with dementia, carers, staff, volunteers and stakeholders

Lessons learned from the project, as well as the equipment, were used to continue to provide vital support when the UK went into lockdown in March - just as the project finished.

Devices were loaned to care homes, hospital wards, support groups, Carers Leeds and Neighbourhood Network Schemes across the city.

They enabled staff to support residents, patients and isolated older people to stay connected with friends and family using video calling.

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Val Hewison, Chief Executive of Carers Leeds, said: “The Leeds Dementia Pathfinder had a really positive impact on carers’ lives.

"During the coronavirus crisis and lockdown, it was more crucial than ever to keep in contact with carers of people with dementia.

"We used our experience and knowledge gained through the Leeds Dementia Pathfinder work to do this.

"We found creative approaches to digital technology to help carers who are socially isolated and by so doing, we improved that ever important connectivity with families and communities."

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