Coping Strategy: Technology Can Be a Valuable Tool for Alzheimer’s Patients

I worked many years in the IT industry. I have been blessed with the ability to learn and am very inquisitive. Thankfully, my employer and my position required us to keep up with technology. I found that technology used at home to be helpful, helped me keep the household and our hectic schedules organized and it continued to mentally challenge me.

Now I am 58 years old, retired and in the early/mid stage of Early Onset Alzheimer’s. For the last 15 years I have utilized personal assistants and other technology to help run our household. Now that I have Alzheimer’s they have become crucial components in our arsenal of coping tools to help us deal with the deterioration of my mind. Here are ways that I am using technology.

Amazon Alexa and Siri

Personal assistants like Alexa, Siri or Google Assistants are a life saver for any person regardless of their mental status. I am going to post a series of posts regarding how I use these, but here are a few things they help me with (all of them have similar features):

  • Set reminders for medications, take out the garbage, and things I have to do
  • Serves as an alarm
  • Use Alexa Blueprints to organize the entire house. I can ask where anything is located and she tells me
  • Tell Alexa where I put stuff (keys, etc) and she tells me
  • Alexa reminds me about important birthdays
  • My home is completely automated ; lights, fan, and thermostat are controlled by Alexa
  • Create shopping list
  • Checklists for packing, golf, etc
  • Set timer so I don’t forget to check something

1 Password

1 Password is an app that I use on my iPhone/IPad/MAC. Not sure if it is available on Android or Windows. My husband and I both find this app to be a lifesaver. It allows us to store all of our passwords, account and membership numbers, important notes, software licenses, credit cards etc in it. It allows my husband and I to share an account so it syncs with all of our devices. This app is worth its weight in gold and has saved us so much time and frustration.

When we go to a website it populates the logon ID and password for us. It also has a few other features that differentiates this password manager tool from other tools which I will discuss in a future post.

Evernote

Evernote is an electronic filing/organizational system that I have used for years developed on the GTD (Getting Things Done) philosophy. I used to teach my employees about it at work. It is awesome. I am 100% paperless at home. Everything document I need is in Evernote. This tool is very flexible and allows you to tag your documents with titles like frequently used, emergency documents, etc. It allows me to find my information very quickly and effectively. I will be discussing this more in a future post as well.

I am the techie in the family, but my husband loves Alexa and what she does for us, as well as using 1Password and sees the tremendous value in Evernote. The challenge for me is to ensure that he is capable of maintaining these tools after my cognition declines. This may be my challenge of all challenges. My poor husband!

Omni Focus or Other Reminder Tool

I am an avid Apple MAC/iPhone user. I have used Omni Focus as my to do organizer and it is invaluable to me. Once I put my to do’s on my list it allows me to prioritize them by date, and flag them by importance which helps me triage them and ensure that I get the most important ones done. You an also set notifications so it tells you when it is time for you to do it. I review this list every morning, and every evening. It also allows you to keep lists such as books I want to read, packing lists for trips, how to make my smoothies, etc.

You can also organize your To Do’s by Project, etc if you want (work, home, kids, etc). This tool has become invaluable to me even before my Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Most smart phones offer simple to do apps and you can also purchase others ones like Wonderlust, ToDoist, etc. I just prefer this one.

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