App helps people living with early dementia make the most of each day
Dementia is one of the biggest health challenges facing the world today with 44 million people living with the disease worldwide. However, in the early stages, when people are still active, they can have a great quality of life with the right support.
UK company Memrica has worked with people living with the early stage of the disease, their families and clinicians to create Prompt, a service that aims to reduce the anxiety about forgetting which impacts social confidence and independence.
The app provides a visual diary with images, details of shared history and background information about people, places and events included in reminders or available via a search function. Users can create notes about things they want to remember, with the system adding images, maps, contact details and personal context to provide confidence that they’re well prepared for each encounter in the daily lives.
A web dashboard is available for family and friends to add photos and information, send messages and reminders and see when they’ve been accessed. Analytics looks at patterns of use and can detect changes which alerts users and their families to discuss plans for the future.
While Prompt was designed to help people living with early and pre-dementia, Memrica has since discovered that the approach is also valuable for other conditions which affect memory function, such as stroke, brain injury and recovery from chemotherapy.
Now the app has been shortlisted for the first ever Active and Assisted Living (AAL) Challenge Prize, which is awarding €50,000 for the best product or idea that uses internet connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) to empower older adults to achieve the quality of life to which they aspire, socially and independently.
15 entrants from a healthy total of 200 have now been shortlisted for the prize and these finalists will now attend a special Innovation Academy in Brussels in July, where their ideas will be further scrutinised by the judges and where they will also receive advice on how their ideas can be further commercialised for what is a massively growing market.
Mary Matthews, Memrica’s Founder said: ‘We are thrilled to be in the final. Ageing increases the chances of developing a memory condition but we now have a generation of tech-savvy baby boomers who have grown older with smartphones and tablets. We’re very proud that our work to help people feel more in control and continue to live life in the way they want to has been recognised. AAL is a thought leader in highlighting that older people enjoy using and can benefit from smart technology.”
Karin Weiss, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Grants at the AGE Foundation and one of the competition judges, said: “We were delighted by the variety of entries we received. We saw many interesting solutions and were particularly impressed by the approach taken to bridging the gap between the older and younger generations, as well as the approach to stabilising the quality of life at home for older people.
“The challenge now is to identify a winner that is exciting, commercially viable and close to the edge of the market” she adds. “We want to see the prize being used to connect this potential with investors, refining the prototypes and creating the impetus to get the solution to market.”
In the UK, a huge amount of work is being done in this sector and with companies such as Memrica already engaged in developing solutions designed to increase the quality of life for older people, hopes are high that this simple, smart solution will pick up the top prize when it is announced at the AAL Forum held in Switzerland on September.