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Prompt by Memrica (Updated 12/24/17 - Happy Christmas everyone!)

A smart memory assistant app that tells users and families when patterns of life change and links everyone to the right resources for them.

Photo of Mary
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?

Prompt is designed to adapt to users’ and families’ needs as a dementia journey continues. Initially, it helps users maintain their own confidence and independence and adapts to invite more family support as it detects life changes. Users and families are provided with links to local support groups, networks and helplines each time change is noted. This provides a personal contact point for peer support, a better insight into current and future needs as well as an outlet for emotional release.

Prompt by Memrica is a smart memory assistant that finds and collates information about the people and places coming up in reminders and displays the information as a visual diary. It helps users feel in control and confident about what's coming up each day and they can invite family to help manage the service. Over time, Prompt learns users' life patterns to bring them relevant information when it's needed most; it can also use the data to detect change, sending alerts to family. When an alert is triggered, or if users are searching for help, the system looks for locally available support networks and introduces users and family members to the help available. 

Prompt adapts to users' needs, enabling dignity and independence in pre and early dementia and enabling family to gradually assume a larger role if the users has dementia and their condition declines. 

Many families say they don't know where to find the right information and would like to connect with people living with similar experiences; however they're also fearful of making a mistake or being emotionally overwhelmed.  Prompt will act as a companion though the journey, offering help to maintain independence for the person affected as long as possible and suporting families to have the right level of knowledge as well as access to a support network when they choose or when changes are seen that will need addressing.

Update: Recent workshopping shows carers need to understand the benefit for themselves early in the onboarding process. Support tools must be integrated into the design from the outset, rather than only being made available in response to an event noted in the app that shows change.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Explore current local resources and determine if they need expanding or augmenting. Gain permission to share contacts Ensure people in my community have downloaded the app Add a notification service to the app suggesting local contacts based on current location Track responses to notofications Gather feedback

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

The first version of Prompt by Memrica is on the app store, feedback and suggestions for next steps would be hugely appreciated. Input on the right level of support at the right time and building resources that are accurate, valid and digestable would be very valuable. Families who are currently on this journey and who would be interested in co-design, please get in touch! Long term, the service must be sustainable, so thinking on commercial models is welcome.

How long has your idea existed?

  • Over 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

I started Memrica when I couldn't find a solution for a family member. Previously I led strategy for games for health for a UK developer,partnering with the US Dept of Defense. I helped set up the UK's Serious Games Institute have worked in government policy and started my career as a BBC journalist

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone?

Prompt is a dementia friend in an app for people with early dementia and their families. It combines a visual diary with context about people and places in reminders with access to in the moment help and information, which are offered when the platform detects changes in patterns of user behaviour.

How does your idea demonstrate our Criteria of Accessibility?

The current model is to offer the visual diary app for free for people living with early dementia, with an additional small subscription charge for premium services such as family access to analytics that show patterns of behaviour. To date, this has been modelled on £5/$6.69 per month. Feedback from user groups suggests this is affordable and families are willing to pay for peace of mind. An alternative approach is to attract sponsorship from companies who wish to support people with dementia.

How does your idea demonstrate or plan to demonstrate scalability?

The app stores are powerful distribution services; clever marketing is essential for discovery . Translation into multiple languages in the long term will support global reach. Sourcing and collating online information can be achieved through intelligent search. Connecting communities for meaningful, personal support is more challenging; initially we will tap into current support networks to link users to help, and long term will develop local groups of people willing to share their experiences.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

Our aim is to keep people with dementia socially active as long as possible, which will help them feel well and in control, which in turn will reduce stress for families. We can use analytics to track patterns of social interaction, baselining when users adopt the app and measuring change. We can compare aggregated results against current known patterns of social decline. We will also ask family users to track their feelings, using emoticons, to see how mood changes when they access support.

What are your immediate next steps after the Challenge?

The Prompt app is currently iOS (iPhone and iPad) only, we will be reworking the technology so it can be delivered to any platform, with Android and a web/browser based service for families as priorities. We will be upgrading the analytics to improve the way we can interpret a user's behaviour to see changes and also to predict what they will need. Community tools will also be developed to start the process of building a support service.

Attachments (1)

Link to prototyping workshop agenda and outcomes.docx

This document has a link to a Google Docs folder which contains work in progress on user personas and user journeys summarised from a workshop with a carer group at Age UK in London.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Molly Oberholtzer

After hearing stories from caregivers and rollercoaster-esque anecdotes, I think its great that with this idea, when there is something unexpected, the caregiver is notified as it occurs... I.e. Dad was supposed to go to the dentist, but GPS tracks him on the side of the highway in the wrong place. That way, when a cop calls your cell phone saying "I found this guy..." you are already on your way. The recording of thoughts and decisions would be useful as well for a caregiver. It could help the caregiver when they are in a pickle, i.e. "a person living with dementia refuses to believe something the caregiver is saying occurred. The caregiver can use the app to show them where they said, "yeah, maybe I should move into assisted living soon..." in this sense it functions like short-term accountability, continuity for the caregiver and recipient.

Photo of Mary

Hi Molly, thanks for your feedback. Personally, I'm not sure whether recording something and playing it back to the person with dementia to prove that you've already had the conversation/eaten the meal/had a shower etc will really help - in my experience this causes further confusion and frustration, a better strategy is distraction and the person with dementia will often forget what it was they were adamant about, I can see that this would provide validation for the carer, but the person with dementia may not trust the recording is a real record. This does of course depend on where the person is in their dementia journey, if they're at a point where they can still reflect on their own experiences, this could be helpful for both carer and the person being cared for, however for me, challenging someone's version of reality often results in an emotional backlash.

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Mary,

What testing or piloting have you been done on Memrica?

Have you considered a web application version of this product/solution?

Photo of Mary

Hi Kate
We developed Prompt by Memrica after research with and input from people living with early dementia, their families and clinical staff. We recruited a user group from this initial work and tested this and previous versions with them before releasing the current version. We are currently in discussions about pilots with a telecare provider, 2 retirement housing providers as well as the UK's National Health Service. We released the app to gather insights into how people will use it on a larger scale than our previous tests.

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Mary,

It is great to have you in the challenge.

I am just going to add some links for our community:

What sort of feedback have you received so far?

Photo of Mary

Ah, I think I posted a reply in the wrong box! Just to expand - we have some dedicated users who are tapping into the app 4 or 5 times every day and we have others who dip in when they have an event coming up, maybe once a week or so. These are the people who tell us they find the app really helpful. We're very keen to hear from more people about their experiences, especially those who feel it's not yet quite right. We can't improve without constructive criticism!

Photo of Mary

Although we're at an early stage, our users find the app really valuable - they tell us they're not missing appointments and it feels as if they have a friend with them. We'd love more feedback though - especially from people who want it to do more!