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Daily self-care scheduling with music - staying on track

Innovative idea!

Living independently can often rely on being able able to maintain regular schedules; taking medication on time, eating, drinking, moving, and generally doing the basics to stay active and well.

We have developed an app for the care of those living with cognitive decline, and so far focused on care homes. The same app can be used to associate a memorable song with any care activity, and set it to a schedule, so the song plays to remind you when you need to carry out a care task; take your medicine, or have a drink, or move, or even feed the cat (anything!) You can even take a photograph to remind you of the task, and this will also appear.

We would like to see if the app, and the music platform, can be used in this way, because it is a lovely way to be 'coached' through the day, and keep to the necessary schedule of life.

Are there people who can help us test this?

I have attached our research published last year in The Journal of Healthcare Engineering, and our Help video for the current iOS app. Android is also available.

Videos
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Siana Jones 11 months ago

This is great @Gordon Anderson. Are multiple people able to log in to the app and set events?

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Siana Jones 11 months ago

Status label added: Innovative idea!

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Miroslava Katsur 10 months ago

Hello Gordon! I am enthusiastic about your study and I hope that this app will be tested in more people soon - we need more help for people with Alzheimer's! As I understand, the carer will be the one who would play a song and turn it off, at least initially. However, if the goal is to make the person with Alzheimer's to be guided by music without help of carer, is it simple for them to turn the sound off? I have not worked much with people who have Alzheimer's so I wonder how easy it is for them to perform a task when a song prompts them to do so. They, i guess, can be quite disoriented, but, hopefully, persist with searching for tools to complete the task.
Also, what do you think about having tiny speakers in different areas of the room e.g. bathroom, kitchen, toilet, mirror with brushes, etc, so that different songs will "call/guide" the person to specific place? For example, if song A is associated with brushing hair, and it comes from the place where the combs and mirror is, the task becomes easier. Perhaps, the speaker can also light up when the song plays, to activate not just hearing, but also sensory information. As I remember, hearing is often impaired in people with Alzheimer's, so visual cues can complement your method.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you, Gordon!

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Catalina Romila 10 months ago

Hi Gorton, thanks for sharing your work here with us.

I found it as an interesting concept where through creative means in this case music helps remind people to get on with certain tasks. From my perspective this is interesting as generally anybody can forget to do certain tasks and having environmental cues like this I can imagine would also work well for people who have certain neurological conditions where only certain parts of the brain are attacked but not others like the creativity or 'left hemisphere'. In fact, as you touched on already the idea is great because you can target a range of different customer groups from people living alone, to people in care homes, and even people with busy schedules etc.

As for there being people who can help with this, I have connections to start-ups/accelerators programs and if you consider raising capital and learning about how to bring your idea from the ideation stage to a product stage and into the market, then there are certainly people I can put you in touch with. If this is of interest let me know and I can put you in contact with a few people.

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Gordon Anderson 10 months ago

Hi Catalina,

Thank you for your comments. We are indeed in need of support, so perhaps your connections could assist?

Our timeline has been as follows:
We published our initial research last November, then we made the Beta Andoid app available last December, and the Beta iOS app available in September this year, just search Memory Tracks in either store.
Our plans now are to begin marketing the current apps, as well as developing for Alexa, and carrying out some further development to make the apps more suitable for domiciliary care providers.

The platform has been developed so that it can be easily adapted to other sources of songs, so we can quickly adapt to other countries.

We have been through the Activate Accelerator and we are still working with them to raise funding. However, we are open to any sources of funding that respect that we are a social enterprise driven by our mission to bring relief to our customers above anything else.

I agree with your comment that the platform can bring relief to anyone in shaping and scheduling their lives, in a self-care capacity. We believe it could be valuable to address depression, addiction, transfering within care, recuperation, etc.

Many thanks for your input!

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Catalina Romila 10 months ago

Hi Gorton, I'm happy to see this drive towards pushing this into the market and strong market is needed, specially since you already formed the product - the App.

There are two main streams I can help with this. One is to direct you through to the UCL Innovation and Enterprise where they run workshops on the different stages required to bring your product to the market and perhaps they can better align you with the support you need. The alternative option is to go through the IMAGINE IF! accelerator for which I used to work for. The accelerator application deadline has just been extended to 15th December so perhaps you can put your application through. You can check out the details of this here: https://inno-forum.org/accelerator/

I hope you find this info useful. All the best, and as always if you have any Qs or ideas pls get in touch.

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Gordon Anderson 10 months ago

Hi Miroslava,

Thank you for your comments. You are correct that in the middle to later stages of dementia it is the carer that would use the app and the music to support them giving care, by reducing agitation and anxiety. The songs play three times then stop, giving the carer time to work. In the earlier stages of the dementia the person themselves can work the app for.

In the case of scheduling songs to remind someone to do something, like take medicine for instance, this can be set up by a carer or relative, and each song reminder only plays for 30 seconds, a bit like an alarm.

The idea is to keep the product simple and low cost, so we haven't considered extra speakers. However, the app works on any Android or iOS device so this could be done using Bluetooth if the user wishes.

I like the idea of the speaker lighting up. The device used for the scheduling can be set to vibrate as well as play the song and show the screen.
Many thanks for your input!

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Nattawan Utoomprurkporn 10 months ago

Hi :) I have been working closely with patients who have cognitive impairment living indepently at home. This is a wonderful product which would defitely help them live independently at home. I have read the research paper and see the product white paper. It looks great.

Your research paper is very well structured and captured all aspect of the application with mixed method analysis of opinions form relevant stakeholders.

This comprehensive data is more than enough to support the use of this product. I would suggest you focus now on the distribution of the product to the wider public.

The Alzneimer's research UK organization may be able to help in terms of both funding and distribution of the products. They are advocate for products to support people living with dementia and also funder of our several projects.
https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/

We will also help with finding potential collaborators in UCL if you want to do more research on the work to build it further. As Miroslava rightly pointed out, people with dementia are often have hearing loss (60% upto 80% in some previous cohorts). It would be a useful addition to also have an option for catering for these people as well.

I really believe this product will be helpful for the older adults living with dementia all over the world.

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Gordon Anderson 10 months ago

Hi Nattawan,

Good to read your comments. We were really fortunate to get a great team together to carry out the research, and work with wonderful carers in North Wales. We learned so much!

I have presented to the Alzhiemer's Association for funding, but didn't secure the support last time. It is very competitive. This wasn't the Reseach arm though.

I would be very interested in exploring opportunities to work with UCL on research and development.

The hearing loss aspect is a clear challenge to the app working for everybody. We came across this in our research, and often the music was very loud for some of the cohort. We haven't tried headphones, as with people living with dementia this is often impossible. However, if they wear hearing implants, we could link to them using their Bluetooth perhaps?

Utlimately, we are driven by our desire to make a solution available that works for most people, then try to extend this to more people where possible.

Many thanks for your input.

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Octavio Zamudio 10 months ago

Hi Gordon! I was reading the paper and I was thinking on this while reading, and finally got to the end and it was there: "...the addition of the sensor technology to add contextual and behavioural triggers. Additionally, the use of machine learning will be implemented to predict typical behaviours and send alerts to carers where behaviours are abnormal" this I think is key and I see that the market readiness in terms of wearables can fulfill this. Developing something at a level less than this, would be losing a step (in my opinion).
So, werables that are warterproof, and can be used all day, can receive triggers from an app, either from a tablet or phone. The trigger, based on the daily routine schedule simply sends the notifications straight to the wearable device. The music could be played there, since speakers are built-in. This could play at the same time in a main speaker, but the wearable could guarantee (through haptic feedback too), that the person gets the message, and listens to the song anywhere in the house.
The main obstacle here would be the battery life. Most of these devices have a battery life of 1-2 days, hence, the technological challenge is to go back in time to the solar cells from the 90's. Or, the wearable could be charged on a daily schedule by the carer.
Definitely a very interesting conversation. Plus, wearables can get vital signs all day long.
Very exciting idea!

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Gordon Anderson 3 months ago

We have updated both the iOS and Android apps, now with unlimited Profiles so that caregivers can have everyone on the one account/device.

Android - https://bit.ly/3hKfhnH
iOS - https://apple.co/2VMuJXR

Would love feedback.

Thanks
Gordon

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