Patients and caregivers with forms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia living at home can apply for a tablet filled with resources, as part of an extension to an ongoing program in Florida. The goal is to lessen isolation and help to ease concerns.
"Project VITAL at Home" is run through the Alzheimer’s Association, the State of Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs, and iN2L. The program rolled out 600 tablets in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the spring of 2020, to help combat symptoms of restlessness, anxiousness and isolation.
The recipients must agree to use the tablet at least one hour a day and participate in a year-long research project with online surveys, among some other requirements.
The tablet has a simplified interface, that allows a user direct access to the Alzheimer’s Association’s live and on-demand support and education programs. There are support groups, connection options with family members, and games and activities.
Victoria DiDio is the Program Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association in Palm Beach County.
“It's easy access at their fingertips to connect and have a virtual interaction with their loved ones. Or it can decrease restlessness and boredom and anxiousness because it's giving them some activities to do and easily have at their fingertips,” she explained.
DiDio says the simplified interface makes the tablet easier to use.
“It is specifically made for individuals who have some form of cognitive decline, so right, making it easy access. Even for someone like myself who's not always the best at technology, it's great. It's just easy buttons. And as well, we do trainings with the individuals,” she explained.
The Alzheimer’s 24/7 Helpline can be reached at 800.272.3900. The organization provides a host of other resources, including screening help. The Alzheimer's Association can help place people with support groups, or connect them with a consultation to talk through some of their concerns.
“I feel blessed to be part of such a great organization, and to be able to be there in the time of need for these families or individuals who are going through this. and to get them connected to the support that they need during this journey in their life,” DiDio explained.