A new app is being developed to provide solutions to the four key frustrations of memory loss, its maker says.

Matthew Harris

These include forgetting things, losing things, unnecessarily repeating behaviours and communication difficulties, says Matthew Harris, founder and managing director of the Memory Machine app.

The app, which Mr Harris hopes to launch in August, provides a key communication tool for people with memory loss and their carers, he says.

The communication aspect of the app is particularly important, he told Community Care Review.

“If you’re calling them it shows me a picture of who you are, and you’ll actually be able to record your own message and your own voice.

“And if they’re calling out, they could just literally touch a photograph of that person and it goes through to whoever it is.

“The idea is to make it so that that keeps it within that person’s power and to give people independence for a bit longer.”

Supporting carers

The app will also help carers allocate tasks to different individuals within a support group.

“If you’re either a professional carer or a carer at home, it’s really hard to involve everybody,” Mr Harris says.

“What this (app) does is allow carers to allocate tasks and… everybody in the support group can see whether or not that task has been taken by.”

It will work with movement sensors, which can be placed on objects such as medicine containers and TV remotes to detect motion.

While the person with memory loss can use the app to check off that they’ve taken their medication, the movement sensors can inform the carer if this actually happened.  

“If they were to tick ‘Yes, they’ve taken it’ but they haven’t actually taken it, then the tablet container hasn’t moved and it gives a warning,” Mr Harris said.

“It will say to them and to the carer that they may not have taken the tablet… that means that they don’t have to run around there all the time.

“This gives the person (with memory loss) more independence… and it gives a lot more security to the carer.”

Loss of dignity

The idea for the app came about when Mr Harris’ father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and he was frustrated with not knowing how to better support him.

“With my dad, the hardest thing to watch is someone lose their dignity; what I tried to do (with the app) was to give them that control back,” he said.

His father had an Alzheimer’s clock, which usually displays the date, time and day of the week and is specifically designed to help those experiencing memory loss.

“When you when you’ve got Alzheimer’s you lose all ability to judge time, and he would literally look at his Alzheimer’s clock like 6,7, 8 times an hour to check what day it was, what time it was just to reground himself

“So what originally gave me the idea (for the app) was I thought if I could put text messages on there to him then I’d be able to communicate at least in some way.

“(This app) uses the Alzheimer’s clock as a base – the main dashboard on it is basically an Alzhiemer’s clock, so do people always go back to that… but it’ll also have on it all sorts of events.”

The app is currently in development and Mr Harris will launch a Kickstarter campaign in July.

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