Lua and her team are developing an app for community-dwelling older adults with early-stage memory loss. It’s a kind of personal assistant, featuring a built-in calendar, image-based contact list, brain training and prescribed physical activities.
One of the aims is to enable people with memory loss to organise their daily activities. It is easy for someone with memory loss to forget their schedule and lose track of time, to give up the things they once loved because they keep forgetting to go—whether it’s their monthly book club or weekly coffee catch-ups.
With the calendar functionality of the app, Lua hopes that people who use it to remain connected to their community. By using it, they can continue to go out into the world, socialise, learn new things and lead a healthy lifestyle. The calendar can sync with other people and organisations, so families and friends can schedule times and health providers can input appointments. They can set reminders. They can also scan through a contact list by image, pressing on the photo of the person they want to call. This should make it easier for people with memory loss to call family and friends.
Dementia Australia and Southern Cross Care have seen the potential and partnered with the Flinders University research team, lending their own expert advice to the project. They know how useful it would be to set appointments in their clients’ calendars with reminders 15 minutes—30 minutes, one hour, one day—beforehand.
They also see the app’s potential in delivering intervention. The app is trialling different brain training activities to improve mind function and prevent further deterioration. These include maths, creative, logic and even physical tasks.