DEMENTIA is a growing concern in Singapore. The condition, which causes progressive intellectual decline leading to increasing difficulties in coping with everyday activities, afflicts one in 10 people aged 60 and above here. The number of people living with dementia is also projected to increase from approximately 82,000 in 2018 to 152,000 by 2030. Hence, initiatives such as the Dementia-Friendly Singapore movement have taken great lengths to create awareness and foster a more caring and inclusive society. There is also a growing number of mobile apps that provide additional support and resources to caregivers and persons living with dementia. Here are five such apps, which are free:
1. Dementia Friends
This is a one-stop platform by the Agency for Integrated Care that is meant to empower caregivers with the knowledge, resources and support they need to better care for their loved ones living with dementia.
The app provides users easy access to information such as how to manage behaviours related to the condition, and tips on communicating with persons with dementia. It also connects caregivers with community resources that are available, such as Go-To Points – “safe return” locations where members of the public can take persons with dementia who may appear lost and are unable to identify themselves or their home address.
Other features include push notifications on trainings, screenings and talks, as well as an alert function for caregivers to seek help from the community should their loved ones go missing.
Besides caregivers, members of the public can use this app to sign up as Dementia Friends, to play an active role in looking out for missing persons with dementia in their neighbourhood.
Download the Dementia Friends app via the App Store and Google Play Store.
2. CARA SG
Developed by Dementia Singapore (formerly known as the Alzheimer’s Disease Association) in partnership with the Agency for Integrated Care, the National Council of Social Service and tech company Embreo, this local mobile app aims to help dementia patients seek out activities and programmes that will mentally stimulate them. Besides offering a library of wellness programmes and activities such as brain exercises, games and music to improve or maintain the cognitive wellness of persons with dementia, the app also recommends dementia-friendly places to visit in Singapore.
Named CARA (which stands for Community, Assurance, Rewards and Acceptance), the app also has a safety feature. In the event that the person living with dementia forgets his/her way home, anyone can help alert the caregiver simply by scanning a QR code on the in-app e-membership card or physical card which can be displayed on the clothes or belongings of the dementia patient.
Download the CARA SG app via the App Store and Google Play Store.
This radio station not only plays classic songs from the 1950s to 1970s, it also aims to bridge the digital divide with senior citizens. The online station curates content on topics such as health and financial literacy through podcasts and videos targeted at seniors, who with their caregivers, are also encouraged to contribute content to the station.
The app includes a photo gallery where users can upload photos of their younger selves as well as pictures of themselves with family and friends, to reminisce and share their memories with other listeners.
As VintageRadio.SG uses minimal mobile data, users don’t have to worry about figuring out how to connect to Wi-Fi. Its content is available in the four main languages – English, Tamil, Chinese and Malay – and various dialects as well.
Download the VintageRadio.SG app via the App Store and Google Play Store.
4. My House of Memories
Jointly developed by Singapore's National Heritage Board, the National Museums Liverpool and British Council Singapore, this app is a digital resource specially designed to help seniors living with dementia unlock memories and improve communication with their caregivers.
Originally developed in the United Kingdom and adapted to the local context, the Singapore version contains specially-curated images (with accompanying descriptions and even sounds) of familiar everyday items from the yesteryears. These serve as memory triggers and conversation starters to facilitate interaction between people with dementia and their caregivers.
Users can also create personalised albums under the “My Memories” tab by simply uploading pictures of objects, people and places that are close to the hearts of the persons living with dementia.
Download the My House of Memories app via the App Store and Google Play Store.
This app was developed by three young caregivers of persons with dementia, with the support of a doctor from the University of Glasgow.
Backed by medical research, MindMate is ideal for seniors living with early signs of dementia. It combats cognitive decline by encouraging a holistic lifestyle through a combination of mentally-stimulating games, balanced nutrition, physical exercises, music and social interaction. You can also create to-do lists and reminders, or capture, store and share your photos and memories on the app.
Download the MindMate app via App Store. (Note: It is only available for iPads, iPhones and latest Mac models with the Apple M1 chip). A desktop/PC version is also available at https://web.mindmate-app.com/
6. Alzheimer’s Daily Companion
Caregivers looking after their loved ones who have dementia constantly face different challenges. From toileting to anger management and sleep problems, the Alzheimer’s Daily Companion app includes over 500 searchable tips and practical solutions for various dementia behaviours and situations. These tips are compiled by experts and family caregivers dealing with Alzheimer’s or other dementia illnesses. Caregivers can also share their own advice on the app.
Once downloaded, users can access the tips and solutions for free, even without Internet connection.
Download the Alzheimer’s Daily Companion app via the App Store and Google Play Store.
Article first published on 21/9/2021; updated on 22/12/2021