Paula, who works as an administrative assistant in Los Angeles, recently got a call from her mother’s neighbor in Nevada. Iris, her mother, has been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s. The neighbor had found Iris wandering down the street -- confused about where she was, how she’d gotten there and how to get home. Living far away makes it especially tough for Paula to look after Iris, who wants to maintain her independence for as long as possible. Creating a small network of neighbors and friends who can check in on her and help with daily errands, doctor appointments and such has helped. But Paula knows that her mom will soon need additional resources and support.
Now considering whether to move her mom to an assisted living facility or move her family so she can be closer to Iris, Paula is also bolstering her own knowledge base and support network and recently joined myALZteam. As any caregiver can attest, any given day can feel overwhelming and questions often outnumber answers. That’s why we started myALZteam. It’s all about connecting members with other people who “get it” -- because they’re going through the same thing. We make it easy for you to share information, resources, lifehacks and emotional support with each other. You are not alone. And you don’t have to figure everything out on your own.
Indeed, a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association revealed that 15 million Americans now serve as unpaid caregivers to individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. To help these people better understand the far-reaching impact of the disease as well as the health, financial and social impact that caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s has on your daily life -- whether living near or far -- we share information and insights from members of our social network. Recent topics of conversation that have proven especially popular with Paula and other myALZteam members include:
From time to time, we’re also happy to share with this community some of the additional resources that hit our radar -- innovative companies, products and services that can help you and your loved one live better while dealing with Alzheimer’s. Here, a few of those:
Unforgettable is a pioneering B Corp in the UK, committed to improving the lives of all those affected by dementia and memory loss. Its marketplace of products and services for dementia and memory loss is curated by stage of the condition, the challenge you or your loved one is encountering, or the goal you’re aiming to achieve. Founder James Ashwell started the company after caregiving for his mother and is personally passionate about helping people impacted by dementia live the best life possible.
SafeTracks GPS is a Canadian company that’s integrated advanced location-based technology into its TRiLOCTM wristwatch, which can help your loved one maintain some independence without compromising your peace of mind. Up-to-the-minute location updates, a fall detection sensor, a one-touch SOS button, and automated notifications if your loved one ventures beyond the geographic boundaries you set or removes the watch provide unprecedented visibility even when out of sight. Vince Morelli, president of SafeTracks GPS, and the company have been recognized for their technical innovations and community contributions, including receiving the Societal Impact Award at the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership Awards.
Embodied Labs is a company on our watch list, as the team there continues to develop virtual reality training tools that help people better understand what it’s like to actually live with a disease such as Alzheimer’s. With its Beatriz Lab, the company is providing soon-to-be healthcare workers with a patient’s perspective on the experience of losing memory, communication, spatial awareness and other functions as the disease progresses. While currently focused on helping train professional caregivers, there’s potential for Embodied to scale to serve a consumer audience and unpaid caregivers as well. The company’s founder and CEO Carrie Shaw became a caregiver to her mom at age 19 and went on to complete her master’s in Biomedical Visualization.
Inspired by or deeply appreciative of an innovation that’s improving life with Alzheimer’s? Comment below!