Age, Dementia and Technology

When I started to talk about the concept for Memrica Prompt, the most common comment was, ‘Aren’t they too old to use a smartphone or tablet?’  The assumption was that dementia only affects elderly people and older people don’t use technology.

In fact up to 10% of people diagnosed with a form of dementia are under 70 and some are of working age. This is the ‘baby boomer’ generation who are notoriously tech savvy and who can be as attached to their smartphones as any of the younger generations. Research by Deloitte suggests that that gap between the over 55’s and younger people in smartphone adoption is closing and will be negligible by 2020. Deloitte also reports that 70% of over 65s have downloaded at least one app. http://bit.ly/1nNt5qx. We all know exceptions, people of any age who don’t wish to use or master smart mobile devices, but that’s no reason to ignore those who are ready and willing to try something new, especially if it gives them a tool to manage their condition positively and live their life they way they want to.

Memrica Prompt is being designed and tested with people living with dementia, their carers and clinical staff. Their views and feedback will shape the content, functions and experience. It’s a painstaking process and inevitably the original concept will flex and be adapted to new thinking. But the core idea, to create an accessible and affordable aid to prompt the memories that are needed, when they’re needed won’t change.