Smartphone reminders can improve memory for older adults with dementia

MU researcher studying impact of digital assistants on older adults with cognitive impairment.

March 11, 2022

Transcript

Brian Consiglio: Older adults with dementia or mild cognitive impairment may struggle to remember daily tasks, including shopping for groceries or managing medications.

And while smartphone apps are typically associated with younger millennials, a new study involving researchers at the University of Missouri and Baylor University found older adults with dementia can improve their memory by using a personal assistant app on their smartphone to receive reminders about upcoming events and activities.

MU assistant professor Andrew Kiselica says the older adults were both receptive to the technology and used it very frequently.

Kiselica: “The folks that did use the technology did demonstrate some improvement in their memory performance and more technology use was associated with better memory performance over time.”

Consiglio: The researchers tracked the progress of the participants for a month while they completed various memory tasks, including making phone calls at certain times and taking photos at certain locations.

Kiselica: “About 85% of Americans own a smartphone, and more than 60% of older adults own smartphones, so as the middle-aged generation gets older, you will see increasing use of technologies. And so we want to leverage the amazing potential of those technologies as much as we can to help people age in place and live happy when they are older.”

Consiglio: For more on this research, visit showme.missouri.edu.

I’m Brian Consiglio, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.

Learn more about the research here

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