New app launched in Singapore as a one-stop resource for dementia caregivers
At the Mental Health Awareness Singapore Learning Series “Healthy Mind , Better Life” Seminar organised by charity group Brahm Centre held on 25th October, Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health, announced the launch of the Dementia Friends mobile app. The app allows users to easily access information about dementia, receive updates on upcoming events on caregiving, and most importantly, use it to search for loved ones who have lost their way home.
Since its soft launch, more than 1,500 mobile users have downloaded the app and signed up as Dementia Friends. The mobile app is co-developed by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), Nanyang Polytechnic and IHiS (Integrated Health Information Systems), which is the national technology agency for healthcare in Singapore.
“Caregivers can activate this network of Dementia Friends in times of crisis, as the community of Dementia friends can help to keep a lookout for loved ones once they get a notification from the app,” said Dr. Khor.
She also said that to date, six Dementia-Friendly Communities (DFC) have been formed. DFCs are support networks that help seniors with dementia live and age well, as well as provide much needed support to caregivers. Under the DFC initiative, residents, grassroots leaders, business owners and frontline government agencies are trained to help persons with dementia and their families.
The six DFCs are at Yishun, Hong Kah North, MacPherson, Queenstown, Fengshan and Bedok.
The Dementia Friends mobile app is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
In August, the National Institute on Aging in the US awarded a US$4.5 million grant to the University of California Berkeley and People Power, an IoT software provider, to support research on smart home solutions for caregivers of dementia patients.
People Power is creating customised systems through behavioral research on targeting everyday stressors for caregivers and dementia patients. The new technology gives caregivers proactive alerts that identify abnormal qualities in patient activities.