Alice woke up in a strange room. The window drapes were open, and morning sunlight was streaming in softly. As she looked around, the TV on the console came to life, and a friendly middle-aged face looked back at her.
“Good morning, Alice, it’s Tuesday, the 16th of July, the year is twenty seventy-four” the face in the TV said, and the date flashed on the screen below her chin.
“Where am I, Diane?” Alice asked. She called the lady in the TV Diane when she was calm, Dinah when she was upset, and Hey you! when she couldn’t remember.
“You’re visiting your son, Sam, and this is his house. Mark, his son, is six years old, and his wife is Joanna; she’s a writer.”
“Yes, I remember that,” Alice said with a hint of impatience as she made her way to the bathroom to wash and get ready. “What are the plans for today?”
“You don’t remember?” the lady in the TV said with smile. “You’re visiting the dock to see the fish being brought in. Wear something cool and colorful with your sandals and bring a large hat.”
Alice got dressed as suggested, and took her medicine when she saw the pillbox on her dressing table. She still could remember to do some things without Diane’s reminders, as she was only in the early stages of dementia. She took her bluetooth earpiece off the charger and put it to her ear, and switched it on. Diane’s voice came on in her ear. “Bluetooth power on. Ready to face the world, Alice?”
“Let’s go,” said Alice, and she opened the door.
I hope when my time comes, the technology is ready. Caregiving is a hard task, and caregivers have their own lives to live too. Technology can help facilitate daily living for those who are starting to forget, so that the caregivers do not have to be there every single minute.
Much of the technology is already there, but it is not yet put together:
- there are electronic calendars to remind us what to do. I not only schedule daily tasks, but annual check-ups and payments too. The calendar reminds me when birthdays are coming up, or when the car tune-up is due.
- voice recognition software has improved rapidly in the last few years, and although not quite ideal yet, it can only get better with time.
- computer search engines are so good they can guess what you are searching for with just a few hints. Coupled with voice recognition, computers will soon be able to anticipate our needs and respond accordingly
- computers have shrunk and many of us use our handphones as mini PCs. We can carry the computing power with us in pockets and handbags, and connect to it verbally and aurally via earpieces.
In the above story, Alice is only in the early stages of dementia. I will write more stories of how technology might help those in the later stages… another day.
I am trying to write a series of short fiction. For the previous story, click below: