PHOENIX – A loved one suffering from dementia can be extremely difficult on family members, but new technology is on the horizon to try and help spark memories.
At Mary’s Place in Sun City, building connections with dementia members is what Director Shelly Buchmayer does each day.
“I was a little skeptical of it at first,” said Buchmayer. “Once we actually got it downloaded on our phones and our iPads, and we started going around to a few different individual people and trying it with them, I was, like, amazed.”
The technology is called Memory Lane.
“There’s like, over a thousand categories that you can pick,” said Buchmayer.
Memory Lane is an app that can be downloaded onto a tablet.
“You can ask what someone was interested in during their past,” said Buchmayer. “You can open it up, and it will ask you some questions.”
For different people, the questions can be different. For example, a man named Chuck was asked questions related to Elvis Presley, since he’s fan of the music legend.
“It’s amazing how some of the members who have that in their background can answer the questions,” said Buchmayer.
It might seem like a simple game. but Buchmayer said it is so much more.
“It gives us the opportunity to engage in conversation with them,” said Buchmayer. “It brings up memories for them, especially since there are pictures attached to the application, so it’s just really exciting.”
Buchmayer said she is already noticing a change.
“I’m hearing them talk more than ever before, which is wonderful,” said Buchmayer.
Among those Buchmayer notices a change from is Chuck,
“He’s typically the guy who sits in our chair and says, ‘I’m not doing Zumba. That’s stupid. I’m not doing yoga, who needs that?” said Buchmayer. “So, getting him in here and hearing him interact with that game, reading the questions, interacting with the questions, that’s pretty amazing.”