Study Finds That Smartphone Reminders Help Improve Memory for Those With Dementia

That smartphone in your pocket, purse, or by your side right can do a lot of great things, but here’s something you may not know that it can do: It has the ability to improve memory for those living with dementia.

A recently released study from the University of Missouri and Baylor University in Texas found that a personal assistant app on smartphones that provided reminders about events and activity helped improve the memory of 52 participants with dementia and mild cognitive impairment.

The randomized controlled trial tracked how the participants with dementia or mild cognitive impairment performed memory tasks over four weeks. In advance, researchers had trained them on using a personal assistant app that would provide reminders for these tasks and other daily events or activities.

“We were successfully able to train the adults to use the technology, and also the adults that used the personal assistants the most had the best memory performance,” says Andrew Kiselica, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s School of Health Professions in a press release.

“Some people may have had doubts about if we could train these older adults with cognitive impairment to use the technology or if they would find it helpful…preliminary evidence suggests it helped them with their memory and improved their quality of life,” Kiselica adds.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the older adults in the study (just like the rest of the world) were eager to learn more about using technology to help improve their lives.

The study was published in the February 2022 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 

So, are there any implications if you’re caring for an older adult with dementia or mild cognitive impairment? If it’s OK with their doctor, you can always try the use of reminders on their phone to see if that helps them remember tasks they need to get done.

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