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Technology allows families and caregivers of dementia patients to receive smartphone or email alerts. (Canadian Press)

Advances in technology are helping dementia patients stay in their homes longer, says a New Brunswick geriatrician.

Dr. Elizabeth Rhynold works with dementia patients in Saint John.

"Things like emergency buttons that people can wear around their neck or around their wrist and all the way up to motion sensors and cameras in homes … and family members can get alerts on their smartphones or right into their email," said Rhynold.

Rhynold says the Department of Social Development offers subsidies to dementia patients who can't afford the technology on their own.

The most recent study by the Alzheimer Society of Canada, done in 2010, showed 12,000 New Brunswickers are dealing with dementia, she says.

And that number is growing.

The province will spend almost $20 billion on patients dealing with dementia over the next 30 years, says the association.