Mobile Assistive Technology and Cognitive Impairments: How apps and devices can support people in community settings to be more independent

Dr Clare Ramsden, Tasmanian Health Organisation

 

Abstract

When people experience a change in their cognition, either through injury, illness or neurodegenerative disorders, a range of cognitive supports are frequently suggested. Aids and supports, such as external memory aids and reminder systems, have been used with individuals with impaired cognition for many years, and the literature demonstrates that they are beneficial in supporting people to be independent. Mobile technology is increasingly prevalent in our lives, and many people are familiar with technology devices when they engage with health services. Support to learn to use a device is less necessary, but support to use a device as a tool for independence is more challenging. This presentation will discuss how individuals with impaired cognition can be supported to use mobile assistive technology devices (iPads, tablets, phones, etc.) to assist with a range of cognitive impairments, including memory, attention, language, visuo-spatial difficulties and executive dysfunction. Strategies to identify appropriate devices and apps to suit particular cognitive needs will be presented. The learning outcomes of the presentation are that participants will have an understanding of the support needs of people with a range of cognitive impairments, how technology devices can meet these needs, how to identify suitable devices and apps for an individual, and utilise these tools to increase the person’s independence.

 

Why the presentation/topic will be of interest to Conference participants:

The presentation will appeal to participants who work directly with people with cognitive impairments, or their families. It will provide specific guidance for identifying suitable devices and apps for people with cognitive impairments, and strategies to support people to use these tools to improve their independence in the community. A range of potential devices and apps will be discussed, along with tips for remaining up to date with this ever-changing technology.

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