Teenage Girls Develop App to Help Dementia Patients & Caregivers

Three dynamic Nigerian Irish teenagers with the help of their mentor have launched an appto help Dementia patients and their caregivers.

The three teenagers – Joy Njekwe, 17, Rachael Akano, 15, and Margaret Akano,17 – created the app Memory Haven during the 2020 Technovation Girls World Summit competition.

The conference is designed to encourage girls to pursue careers and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) – which has traditionally been considered a boy’s club.

The Nigerian-Irish teens based in Drogheda, Ireland, are mentored by Evelyn Nomayo, a Ph.D. student currently studying computer science and statistics. Upon realizing she was the both the only female and only person of color in her classes, Nomayo decided to found Phase Innovate, with a mission to mentor and train underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.

Inspired by Nomayo’s recollection of her own mother’s battle with dementia, the trio of teenagers coded and created Memory Haven over the course of the 12-week Technovation challenge.

Nomayo said, “My mom started having dementia problems three to four years ago.”

“The first time I realized something was wrong was when she started hallucinating. She lived in America, but she’d be imagining that she was in Nigeria. One time [when I was visiting her] I gave her something to sew, and I could see the pain in her eyes because she forgot how to,” Nomayo recalled.

“She used to be a seamstress, but she couldn’t do it anymore. So some of my experiences that I had with her, the team translated into technology to help others.”

The app Memory Haven addresses three of the most common difficulties associated with dementia: speech impairment, loss of memory, and a diminished capacity for recognition.

Additional features include: a virtual photo wallet; memory games; health alerts; music playlists, facial and vocal recognition software that tailors tunes to the user’s specific moods, and an emergency call for help feature. Akano told the BBC, “Our main aim is just to help as many people as possible. We hope that our app can go global one day and reach millions of people who are affected by dementia and just make their lives somewhat easier.”

Source: Good News Network