Living with Alzheimer’s disease can be tough. The possibility that you might end up not remembering the faces of the people you love most can cause sleepless nights for many Alzheimer’s patients. To help such people, a 14-year old girl, Emma Yang, is creating a smartphone app called “Timeless.”
The app for Alzheimer’s patients
“Timeless is a simple and easy to use mobile app for Alzheimer’s patients to remember events, stay connected and engaged with friends and family, and to recognize people through automatic Artificial Intelligence-based facial recognition technology,” Emma said to The Longevity Network.
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Timeless allows updating photos with names and relationships of the people who feature in the photo. In case the patient forgets someone, they simply have to click a photo of the person and the app will display their name and relationship. The app uses AI-based facial recognition technology to pull this off. In addition, event reminders and assisted calling and texting functions are also present in the app. This can help the patient remember important family events, like the birthday of their son, and assist in making the calls.
The app is being developed by Emma. However, Emma has consulted an Alzheimer’s specialist from New York and a human analytics technology startup in Miami during the development process. One big challenge she faced was in testing the app’s functions. To address this issue, Emma is talking with several Alzheimer’s associations so that she can gain access to patients to test the app.
“If somebody’s mild in their disease, and with support from their caregiver, it’s possible that if the app is simple enough that they can learn to use it through repetition and practice… I think it can be very helpful for patients to rehearse memories that are important to them — having a chance to rehearse that can strengthen those memories and make them stronger and make them more resilient in the face of the disease,” Katherine Possin, an associate professor at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, said to Fast Company.
Useful apps for Alzheimer’s patients
Inspired by the creator’s late grandmother who suffered from vascular dementia, Greymatters is like a portable scrapbook that can help preserve memories. People close to the Alzheimer’s patient can create a custom storybook filled with photos, accompanied by voice narration. This helps the patient remember important past events.
Spaced Retrieval Therapy: Memory training for dementia and brain injury
Alzheimer’s patients can get worried when they forget about where they are, who they are, and other such important information. This app is targeted at strengthening such critical memories.
“This Spaced Retrieval Therapy app uses the scientifically-proven method of spaced retrieval training to help people with dementia or other memory impairments to recall important information. Recalling an answer over multiplying intervals of time, such as 1 minute, 2 minutes, 8 minutes, and so on, helps to cement the information in memory,” according to the app’s download page.
A popular app for people suffering from Alzheimer’s, MindMate comes with a variety of activities that can boost memory, attention span, and problem-solving skills in the patients. Nutrition and culinary advice are also provided so that the patient only eats a wholesome, healthy meal.