Smartphone apps such as Google Calendar may be able to help some people who have mild dementia, suggests a case study recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mohamad El Haj, Ph.D., a psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Lille in France, tested the ability of the calendar app to help a retired teacher who had reported memory difficulties 12 months beforehand. She had trouble remembering medical appointments, remembering to take her medication and remembering names and groceries she wanted to purchase, and she frequently lost papers and keys.

The woman already was comfortable using a smartphone. After using Google Calendar, she said she appreciated the alerts that helped her remember appointments, church services and social commitments, and she liked that the smartphone app was not as conspicuous as a paper calendar.

El Haj said that the case study’s findings must be confirmed by a larger study, which also could address whether use of the app has any long-term benefits. The study, he said, may pave the way for exploring the potential of other smartphone-integrated memory aids in Alzheimer’s disease.