Critter Corner: Top 7 Apps for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s

Dear Angel,

My father, Bill, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I was wondering if you knew of any apps that would be beneficial and/or enjoyable for him to use. Thanks so much in advance!

Al Zimerapps

Dear Al,

Caregivers and loved ones of those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia often search for mobile device apps that offer meaningful and enjoyable activities for their loved one. The hope is that a loved one with Alzheimer’s will enjoy the apps and possibly enhance their preserved cognitive and functional abilities.

These are some recommended apps that I found in my research:

  • Constant Therapy is an award-winning app that offers cognitive, language, and speech therapy. It is designed to support patients with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, as well as those recovering from brain injuries. The program was designed to keep patients challenged but not frustrated. It is free, but does offer in-app purchases.
  • MindMate is an app developed by Alzheimer’s caregivers, and it offers brain games and workouts to help with attention, memory, problem-solving, and cognitive speed. MindMate also features other tools to stimulate brain and general health, promoting good nutrition, physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. This app is completely free to use, with no extra in-app purchases, and is available for Apple, Android, and computers.
  • Piano with Songs is a free app for Apple phones and iPad that lets users play the piano, even if they haven’t played in years (or ever). For comparison sake, it is similar to the game Guitar Hero, but for piano. People who struggle with memory issues often find music therapeutic and relaxing. With a library of thousands of songs, people with Alzheimer’s and dementia can use the app to access old favorite songs and unlock good memories in the process. The app is free to download and has many songs available that are free, but in order to access all the songs you must pay for a weekly or monthly subscription.
  • Spaced Retrieval by Tactus Therapy Patients with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia often have trouble retrieving information they have recently heard or seen. Tactus Therapy offers apps for cognition and language problems, including spaced retrieval therapy to help patients remember new information longer using evidence-based memory techniques. The app is available for $4.99 for both Android and Apple devices.
  • Word Search Colorful: An app doesn’t need to be complicated to be helpful or engaging. Word Search Colorfulis a classic word search game available on Apple and Android, and it’s free. It involves words hidden within blocks of letters; instead of needing to circle the words with a pen, a swipe of the finger provides a colorful highlight.
  • AmuseIT: Isolation can be a problem for those living with dementia, and it can be difficult for those who care for them to know how to engage. AmuseITis an app designed to promote conversation. It contains over 1000 simple quiz questions with a strong visual component. In addition to facilitating connection between dementia patients and caregivers who use the app, AmuseIT stimulates memory and reasoning and is easy to use, even for those intimidated by technology. It is available on Apple and Android devices for less than five dollars.
  • Alz Calls is a not an app, but a phone-based chatbot designed for patients who repeatedly ask for their family, struggle with transitions to new environments, or need social interaction. Family members can record their voice, add a photo that will pop up for the patient to recognize, and answer frequent questions so that the patient can have an interactive conversation when the caregiver is not available to talk. If Alz Calls can’t answer a question, it gracefully ends the chat. Whether this program is free or requires a subscription is not stated on their website, nor is it clear how well this program actually works.

Hope your father enjoys these apps!

Angel

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