Making the right watch choices for living with dementia

Added by Gary Cornelius about 2 years ago

Disruption to the natural sleep wake/cycle and circadian rhythm is a common challenge associated with dementia. This can obviously affect time judgement and increase the number of time checks people make. We have helped people with dementia and their carers choose and use watches for many years and have learned a lot about what works and does not. Obviously if users are already used to a watch type it would be best to ensure selection is as close to what is tried and tested with that user already. For those who have never worn watches before it is a good idea to choose a watch that is strong enough to take a few extra bumps and bashes and is waterproof. We also found it a good idea to select a good strap or change the strap so it is more usable perhaps to a simple expanded/elastic, velcro or magnetic or straps which can all be comfortable and some of the easiest types to use.

Some of the slightly less obvious but extremely useful things modern smart watches can do are:
  • Sleep tracking – this can help users and carers manage poor sleep/wake cycle better.
  • Steps/exercise tracking – long periods of inactivity can massively reduce users falls risk especially where the top of the legs and not exercised and watches can do a great job at letting you know when you have been inactive for too long.
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring – there are many good reasons to track your heart rate such as for pain management. Pain can seem as difficult to track as global warming sometimes due to slow changes in pain levels over days, weeks or months and watches can do a great job helping you benchmark and trend changes that are significant!
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) – GPS can be fairly useful for navigation and orientating and supper useful for measuring things like walking speed which is one of many key wellness indicators that can be measured from a watch.

If you have dementia, live in Scotland and are thinking about getting a new watch please get in touch as we can help you. We support residential users and those in care homes and hospitals.