Tablets and smartphones have quickly become an essential part of many older adults lives. These devices are a high-tech way to access essential applications, entertainment, and to communicate with loved ones. Their technology and power were difficult to imagine just ten to fifteen years ago. But, tablets and smartphones can provide this high power computing in a more comfortable and intuitive layout than traditional computers.
Three application developers are working to utilize these portable device's power to help reduce cognitive decline and to aid those with Alzheimer's disease. This year it is estimated that 5.7 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's. With this number expected to more than double by 2050. These three smartphone and tablet applications, Timeless, GreyMatters, and MindMate hope to help this growing group with easy to use tools and prevention methods.
Timeless started its development when the app's creator, Emma Yang, was only twelve years old. Yang's grandmother had started to become more and more forgetful when Yang was seven and eight years old. By the time Yang had turned eleven her grandmother's condition, and memory had continued to decline. She witnessed first hand her grandmother's struggle using her phone, recognizing faces and recalling dates and information. At the same time, Yang had developed an interest in using new technologies to help others. Learning to use computer code and application design, at the age of 12, Yang started work on Timeless.
Timeless provides the user a detailed photo gallery of their loved ones. When an unrecognized person approaches them, they can scroll through the gallery to find their face and their relationship detail. If the user is still unable to recognize them, they can then take a picture with the phone's camera and Timeless will attempt to identify them automatically with facial recognition technology. This function's facial recognition feature required further assistance and mentorship from the technology company Kairos.
Besides these two identification tools, Timeless also includes a reminder function and a simplified, visual contacts screen. Next to each of their phone's contacts, there is a helpful photo. It can also give a quick reminder if the user repeatedly attempts to call one number. Timeless will request the user to confirm that they want to call their loved one that they may have just called two minutes before. The application also has an easy to access me section that shows the user's essential information. Caregivers can remotely manage their loved one's Timeless reminders and calendars.
Unfortunately, at this time Timeless is still in development. Yang is continuing to crowdsource capital to continue its growth and to begin actual testing. With Timeless being one of the very few applications in development to assist Alzheimer's patients in their day to day life their funding goal shouldn't be difficult to accomplish. To find out more information about the Timeless application's crowdfunding efforts visit its IndieGoGo page. Also to find out more about this inspirational innovator visit Emma Yang's home page.
Similar to Timeless, the tablet application GreyMatters was developed by Jennifer Rozbruch after watching her grandmother's memory be affected by dementia. Rozbruch was finishing her masters in design while her mother was providing care for her grandmother. Rozbruch saw first hand how her mother connected with her grandmother through stories and pictures from her grandmother's youth.
This experience led Rozbruch to develop the GreyMatters tablet application as her design program's senior thesis. She hoped to offer patients and caregivers the same connection that she saw has seen her mother and grandmother build with multi-media memories.
GreyMatters helps those with Alzheimer's or dementia access their memories through a customizable virtual album. Family members can load the application with their personal stories and photos. Then they can incorporate pre-loaded pop culture content from their past, for instance, movie clips and music from their preferred decade. GreyMatters also include games, customized reminders, and remote uploading.
Every feature, menu, color, and text style has been developed for optimum accessibility. With the goal of keeping both the patient and caregiver engaged in curated content specially formatted for their enjoyment. This application also offers the caregiver or relative something special to do with their loved one while visiting.
GreyMatters is currently available in IPad App store and has been downloaded approximately 8,000 times. It also recently received the Fast Company Magazine' 2018 World Changing Idea Award in the apps category. With this award and the accompanying press coverage, we hope that more and more people can set up their very own GreyMatters and connect with their loved ones in a brand new way.
Three Scottish university graduates developed the MindMate smartphone and tablet application to help make a difference in those with memory problem's lives. The MindMate application combines several different areas to help users improve their brain's health and to stay independent for as long as possible.
MindMate sets itself apart from Timeless and Grey Matters by providing users the resources to help prevent and attempt to slow their decline in cognition. It offers users a specially customized set of interactive games to challenge the user's four core cognitive areas. These games can help specific areas for those with Alzheimer's, other forms of dementia, traumatic brain injury, and other memory problems. MindMate also offers individualized exercises, lifestyle recommendations, and recipes to help stay mentally and physically fit.
Both of these functions have been shown to help those with a cognitive issue and to prevent the development of an Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. With this useful and mobile platform, MindMate hopes to connect patients, their family, friends, care providers, and others with their condition into an international support community.
These three applications hope to help change the way that those with Alzheimer's and other dementias live their daily life. Using each of these applications can bring the interactive computing power of our mobile devices into their own and their caregiver's lives. We hope that one of these applications can help you or your loved one engage and communicate in a whole new way today.
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