National Institute on Aging makes awards for dementia care apps

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Atlanta-based MapHabit has won a first place prize of $250,000 in the National Institute on Aging’s dementia care coordination challenge for its mobile device app.

MapHabit’s software “provides behavior prompts with customizable picture and keyword visual maps to assist memory-impaired people with accomplishing activities of daily living,” such as taking pills and brushing teeth, according to NIA, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

“The care management platform employs different interfaces depending on whether the user is a person with impaired memory, caregiver or long-term care community manager,” states the announcement. “Caregivers can monitor adherence to medication schedules or track other activities.”

A second place prize of $100,000 was awarded to a team from the University of California at Los Angeles for a web-based Dementia Care Software system. “The case management software, which integrates with the electronic health record system, has already been used at UCLA to coordinate the care of thousands of people,” according to NIA.

A third place prize of $50,000 was awarded to a team at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University for the Caregiver411 mobile device application, which enables dementia caregivers to foster social connections through a messaging center and obtain tailored resources related to mental, emotional, physical, social, legal and financial concerns.

“The app also enables caregivers to find local health specialists and other professionals,” states NIA. “By connecting caregivers and family members with targeted information, the Caregiver411 app can help people make informed decisions at each stage of the dementia care journey.”

NIA’s Improving Care for People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Using Technology (iCare-AD/ADRD) Challenge is NIH’s first Eureka prize competition, which was included in the 21st Century Cures Act to improve health outcomes in conditions that represent a serious and significant disease burden. An estimated 5.6 million Americans age 65 or older are living with Alzheimer’s disease.

“The intent of this challenge was to spur technological innovations so that the overall quality of dementia care could be improved,” says NIA Director Richard Hodes, MD. “By enabling more effective management of dementia care overall, we anticipate that such innovations could have the potential to improve the quality of life of those living with dementia."

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