‘Digital life story’ tools are invaluable for memory care residents

Study finds evidence of improved wellness in older adults, but more need to know how to use the technology

Giving older adults, particularly those living with dementia, tech tools to showcase their memories and “life stories” is a tremendous addition to senior living and care communities, a new study shows.

The new study from the National Library of Medicine offers some careful considerations for senior living and care providers in implementing those tools: “Life story” tech needs to be easy to use, and time and training must be available to caregivers to ensure that residents get the most out of the experience.

The number of older adults living with cognitive issues and memory impairment has grown to the point where many are now living in nursing homes that lack specialized care for them, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News reported last year. McKnight’s Senior Living previously reported that, according to data from the federal government, 42% of assisted living residents have diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

The concern that tech tools aimed at older adults are designed without their input, or that they ignore their usability needs, has become a common refrain among health tech experts.

One technology recently introduced to US senior living communities to help residents share memories is a digital whiteboard wall display from SMART Technologies. It gives residents an interactive way to highlight people and places that are meaningful to them.

Keep reading for the full story on how technology supports older adults at McKnights Senior Living: