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Memory Walk London

Some of us participated at the London Memory Walk last month. Over 4000 walkers, lots of fun and plenty of sunshine…

Here are some pictures from the event:

Memory Walk London October 2018 - 1
Memory Walk London October 2018 – 1
Memory Walk London October 2018 - 2
Memory Walk London October 2018 – 2
Memory Walk London October 2018 - 3
Memory Walk London October 2018 – 3
Memory Walk London October 2018 - 4
Memory Walk London October 2018 – 4

Memory Walk are family friendly sponsored walks which bring thousands of people together across the country walking to make sure no one faces dementia alone. The events help raise money to fund vital research.
So for the next memory walk, why not join the thousands of people united against dementia.

Our latest guest blog post

Check out our latest guest post on Tena Scallan’s blog, the the ultimate caregiving expert. Tena Scallan is a passionate healthcare professional, business owner, consultant, and published author with over 25 years of experience in the health care industry.

Tena has dedicated her life’s work to serving others in hospitals, running her own in-home caregiving agency, and providing consulting and guidance for family caregivers.

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Podcast with “the bow tie guy”

Hi there,

Listen to our founder talking about Memo24 to Christopher MacLellan (aka the bow tie guy) from the Whole Care Network.

Listen to “For Medication Management its Memo24″ on Spreaker.

Christopher MacLellan, known as “The Bow Tie Guy” in the caregiving community and author of What’s The Deal With Caregiving?, Chris MacLellan brings his soothing style and personal caregiving experience to Healing Ties podcast. Featured in a 2015 Pulizter Prize nominated caregiving story In Sickness and in Health: A Couple’s Final Journey, Chris is creating a life to love after caregiving ends through writing, radio, travel, and advocacy.

4,000 steps a day for a better brain

A recent study by the UCLA research, published in the pre-print December edition of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, showed that walking more than 4,000 steps a day can improve attention and mental skills in adults 60 and older.

The study participants were divided into one of two groups: those who walked more than 4,000 steps a day and those who walked fewer steps.

The results and more details on the study can be found here.

Dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain

As we grow older we suffer a decline in mental and physical fitness. A new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of ageing in the brain, and dancing has the most profound effect. This article in “Science Daily” has more details on this study.

playful-couple-dancing-outdoors_23-2147562102

Credit: Created by Freepik

Discover your Alzheimer Risk Reduction Score

This is an online test you can take to discover what your Risk Reduction Score is. The test is provided by brainsalvation.com.

The Risk Reduction Score is a crucial component of the brainsalvation system. The score provides a clear guideline for understanding how your lifestyle increases or decreases your chances of developing dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. The Risk Reduction Score incorporates findings from recent, peer-reviewed medical research, and was developed under the supervision of Medical Care Corporation, a data analytics company specializing in the measurement of cognition.

background-topPicture taken from www.brainsalvation.com

Stop Alzheimers Now – Great initiative and an opportunity to Donate

This is an organization committed to increasing Alzheimer’s and Dementia awareness. Their mission is to raise private funding for Alzheimer’s research with the goal of eradicating the disease by the year 2020. Founded in 2013 by Shaun McDuffee, and a small group of fellow financial advisors, who decided to set a goal  of walking 3652 miles, the distance from the east coast to the west coast of the United States, to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Check out their website on www.stopalzheimersnow.org.

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A Glimpse Down the Dementia Road

A GLIMPSE DOWN THE DEMENTIA ROAD

A guest post by Vicki Tapia.

It’s difficult to say for sure when Mom’s dementia symptoms actually began, but certainly long before they were evident to any of the extended family. My parents lived in another town, 2 hours away, and that distance provided a type of disguise for her cognitive decline. It took several years before I began to put 2 and 2 together. Sure, there were the odd behaviors of forgetting certain things such as how to correctly follow a recipe, what an eggbeater is used for or how to send email on her computer. I simply attributed it to old age, the stress of taking care of Dad (who had Parkinson’s disease) or plain old forgetfulness. The day Mom didn’t recognize her granddaughter standing before her, however, was probably the day my uncertainty took root. That was when I began to have vague suspicions there was something more nefarious happening to Mom’s brain beyond simple “old age.” Even so, it took yet another year beyond that incident before she was finally evaluated. And, by then, the diagnosis was already moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon to miss clues of cognitive decline when someone we love acts in ways that go beyond normal aging. And when we do observe behaviors out of the ordinary, we often normalize or simply deny there may be an issue. If you’re close to someone who displays any of the following symptoms, it’s worth a medical evaluation.

  • Becoming more forgetful
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Struggling to perform familiar tasks
  • Difficulty recalling names or words, or perhaps substituting words out of context
  • Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood or forgetting how to reach a well-known destination
  • Repeating the same thing or asking the same questions over and over
  • Misplacing or putting items in strange places
  • Family or friends noticing changes in behavior, mood or personality
  • A lack of desire to engage socially

As Mom’s disease progressed, she transitioned from living in her home to an apartment in an assisted living facility. With my assistance, she continued to live independently there for a couple more years. To the best of my ability, I strived to give her the freedom to be in charge of her life as long as safely possible. One of the ways I assisted was by arranging her pills, which were held in daily Monday – Friday pill containers. During this time Mom was taking upwards of 19 pills each day, some prescription and some over-the-counter-type vitamins. Since I wasn’t with her 24 hours a day, I relied on her to follow through and take the pills appropriately. For a time, this appeared to be working.

Along the way, I’d come to the conclusion that one of the markers for Mom continuing to live safely on her own would be determined by her ability to take her pills as prescribed. And, in the end, although there were other factors involved, such as declining cleanliness and self-imposed social isolation, it was this inability to take her medication as directed that became the overriding factor in the decision to move her to a facility with more skilled nursing care. The tipping point was her medication for osteoporosis, which needed to be taken on an empty stomach, early in the morning before arising. Since I was unable to be present, I did what I considered the next best thing…I plainly marked on her kitchen calendar which days she was to take the pill. Part of Mom’s daily routine was to draw a big black “X” on that particular day’s calendar box which, besides telling her what day of the week it was, also helped her remember to take the osteoporosis medication. I was alarmed, yet not surprised, the day I found only 2 remaining osteoporosis pills in Mom’s cupboard instead of the 6 she should have had. In hindsight, it’s now clear that I should have kept her medication with me, not in her cupboard, irrefutable evidence that in midst of it all, stress caused poor judgment on my part as well. (Unfortunately, I don’t believe any services like Memo24 existed in 2008.)

There are few, if any, people in today’s world who will remain untouched by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in some form, whether caregiver, relative or someone personally affected by the disease. I’m pleased to see new tools, such as Memo24, are now available to improve the safety and quality of life for those traveling the dementia road.

Vicki Tapia, Author of Somebody Stole My Iron: A Family Memoir of Dementia.


Vicki TapiaVicki Tapia, long-time lactation consultant and published author of numerous lactation articles found her energies redirected to the other end of life when both her parents were diagnosed with dementia in 2004. Her diary documenting their journey resulted in the publication of Somebody Stole My Iron: A Family Memoir of Dementia, a 2015 finalist for the High Plains Book Awards. The mother of three grown children and eight grandchildren, she lives with her husband and Mini-Schnauzer in south central Montana. Visit Vicki’s Website/Blog.

Great initiatives for our elderly

Lately I came across these 2 great initiatives focused around improving the lives of our elderly that I wanted to share with you.

nursing

*: Photograph from www.presentperfectfilm.com

1. The first one is about an initiative in Seattle, USA where they have put up a pre-school and a nursing home under the same building. It is amazing to see how the children and the elderly seem to enjoy and cherish their social interactions and the time spent together. A documentary film called “Perfect Present” was made where the day to day life in such a magic place is displayed to us.

According to Evan Briggs, the filmmaker, studies have shown that 43% of older adults experience social isolation, which is closely correlated with loneliness and depression as well as mental and physical decline.

If you would like to know more about this amazing initiative and the documentary behind it, then have a look at the movie’s website and its trailer by visiting www.presentperfectfilm.com.

 

hogewey-the-amazing-village-in-the-netherlands-just-for-people-with-dementia-9

*: Photograph by Madeleine Sars, “the amazing dementia village”

2. The second initiative is about a “Dutch village where everyone has Dementia”. It is an open space residential area of approximately 160 residents. The village lies on the outskirts of Amsterdam in the small town of Weesp. The village looks like a regular village with its small town square, gardens, small shops, and post office. The difference is however, there are cameras monitoring the residents 24/7 and caregivers ready to intervene in any moment. The village also has one unique door in and out of town.

“The residents live with each other in lifestyle groups. They share similar interests and backgrounds. The decor, design and direct environment of the dwellings are adapted to suit each separate lifestyle”.

A similar village is now under construction in Rome, Italy. To know more about this initiative, visit www.dementiavillage.com

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the Amazing feedback from some of our most loyal users

thankyou

 

I wanted to personally thank Val and AnneMarie for the great feedback they have given us during all these past months on their use of Memo24. Not only have we gotten some great constructive comments from them, but also some really kind words that I wanted to share with you.

 

Val, from Birmingham UK, is one of (if not the) the early adopters of Memo24. Val was of great help in better understanding the need of our users in general. She was also the one who, through her experience using the service, pointed us in the direction of developing a way to record the message (originally one could only type the message which was then converted into speech), so that the voice heard by her father sounds familiar.

This is what Val has to say about Memo24:

“I’m glad I found Memo24 to help in reminding my 94 year old father to take his medication from a distance of 150 miles. It’s an easy system to use, and a very reasonable price. It’s flexible, and can be altered simply to prevent the messages becoming so predictable that they’re no longer ‘listened to’! Also useful for one-off reminders of appointments etc. No system can guarantee compliance when short term memory is failing, but this does help. Very easy to check whether the message has been received. A helpful team in the background too.”

 

AnneMarie, from Ontario Canada, is one of our newest users, and started using Memo24 to help her Dad while she was away on holidays. But she continued using after her return as she and her Dad both “fell in love” with the service :-) .

This is what AnneMarie has to say about Memo24:

“I subscribed to the Memo24 service this past October to assist my Dad in remembering to take his medication while I was away on vacation. Memo24 reminds my Dad to take his medication twice daily. We both loved the service so much that we’ve continued using it upon my return from vacation. It has allowed me to free up some while still ensuring that my loved one is receiving the reminders that he requires to take his medications on time. As my Dad’s primary care giver, I love the fact that Memo24’s interface is customizable and so user friendly! Thank you for this wonderful service…it really has been so helpful to our family.

 

It is indeed this kind of testimonials that makes us feel proud to know that Memo24 is helping people around the world and keep us pushing the service to the next level.

We deeply care about our users and we are always happy to hear from them and especially to learn from their experience in order to better our service.

To all our users, Thank you.

*: image from freepik.com

 

 

Great article: Alzheimer’s and Dementia Prevention

healthy

I came across this article the other day on “Alzheimer’s and Dementia Prevention”.

The article is well written and informational, it mentions 6 pillars for preventing (or at least delaying) Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

These 6 pillars are:

  1. Regular exercise
  2. Healthy diet
  3. Mental stimulation
  4. Quality sleep
  5. Stress management
  6. An active social life

Although these seem to be obvious steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle in general, you will be surprised to know some of the details on these 6 pillars. I encourage you to read the full article here.

 

*: image designed by Freepik.

 

Recording your reminder message is finally here.

Hello everyone,

Today we are excited to introduce to you the long-awaited recording feature in Memo24.

From now on, when specifying your reminder’s message, you can either:

  1. Enter some text, or (and this is the novelty)
  2. Record a message in your own voice

We have added this feature following the request from many of our users who find that playing a message with a familiar voice would lead to a much greater acceptance of the service by the recipients of the reminders.

And indeed for example, for elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease hearing a voice which is not familiar can lead to the person to completely ignore the phone call medication reminder.

So, we are hoping that this new feature will greatly improve the usefulness of Memo24 and result in higher levels of medication adherence.

 

voice recording
* image taken from www.freepik.com

 

Telephone call reminder that saves lives

One of the latest features addition to Memo24 is the so called “SOS alert” feature.

The way it works is very simple, when adding your telephone call medication reminder, simply add an email address or a mobile phone number where you wanna get the SOS alert.

alert

When such an alert is set, an email or an SMS* will be immediately sent in case the callee (i.e. the recipient of the reminder) did not pick up the phone after all call attempts.

In this scenario, one can think that may be something indeed went wrong with the person you care for, and receiving such an alert prompts you to take immediate action (such as trying to reach your loved one by other means or trying to call the neighbor and ask him/her to go and check up on your loved one).

That is why we think Memo24 SOS alerts can be very useful and even a life saver in some circumstances.

*: Email SOS alerts are always free and there is a nominal fee for sent SMS SOS alerts (check this link for pricing).

Your phone call reminders on your smartphone

telephone call remindersmedication reminders dashboard telephone reminders setup memo24 blog

Wanna edit one of your medication reminders, or may be you want to simply check your reminders execution history… But your not in front of your PC!

Well, no worries, you can access your memo24.net account right from your smartphone or tablet and get access to the same beautifully looking dashboard and functionality you are used to.

The memo24 telephone reminder service website has been designed following the so called “Responsive Web Design” paradigm which ensures that the interface looks great and is user friendly on any display size be it a smartphone, a tablet, or a desktop.

So, Happy phone call reminders settings from wherever you are 😊.

 

 

 

 

 

Top European Startups working on eHealth Elderly Care.

fiware_accelerate

These days, some of the most exciting startup initiatives is coming out from the European FIWARE initiative which aims at creating a sustainable ecosystem to take advantage of the new opportunities generated  by a new wave of Internet technologies. Some of the FIWARE accelerators have focused on the promotion of eHealth and a few excellent startups have been funded to develop technologies to promote healthy, active, and independent living in particular among the elderly.

Some of my favorite startups that are focusing on elderly care:

  1. Alzhup: This App seeks to improve the quality of life of people with Alzheimer’s by integrating actual memories and scientifically-proven therapies in a single platform, slowing the cognitive decline of the patient, as well as facilitate the active participation of the entire family and care team in the treatment process.
  2. Increasetime: The main focus of this startup is to promote the quality of life of the general population, with a special focus on patients with chronic diseases and on the independent, active and quality ageing. They develop health care solutions based on ICT (information and communications technology) and wireless sensors.
    The solutions allow a continuous monitoring of the elderly person’s health state and, through a leading edge alarm system, they allow a quick intervention in case of an emergency.
  3. Sentimoto: They develop novel methods for the analysis of long-term physical activity, physiological and environment data collected by wearable sensors, with the aim of identifying social withdrawal and altered behavioral patterns that are predictive of decreased quality of life and a need for social care intervention. They aim to provide easy, trusted sharing of these insights, putting well-being information into the hands of older people and their circle of care.
  4. InCitytogether: Is another useful App that empowers the elderly and promote healthy and active ageing. In addition to monitoring some of the person’s vital signs (e.g heart beat rate, blood pressure, sugar level) and securely sharing this data with your GP and/or a relative, this App also provides real time information from city sensors, which warn seniors about environmental changes (heat, cold, rain, etc.) and health issues (pollution, pollen count, etc.). The App (and provided sensors) can also monitor your activity level and sleep patterns, and it will even inform you about your city’s cultural, educational, and fun events happening around you :-).

In short, these initiatives all have a common goal which is to empower the elderly and allow them to remain at home* and enjoy an independent life for as long as they can.

 

*: According to research by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP),  nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, often referred to as “aging in place.” (source: www.iyhusa.com/AginginPlaceFacts-Data.htm)

Useful Medication Reminders Tips, but Scary Statistics!

Hi,

Today I found this pretty cool infographic by canadadrugcenter.com on simple tips to remember to take your medication and improve your medication compliance / adherence. The infographic was partly inspired by this blog post on psychcentral.com.

forgetting-medications
source: www.canadadrugcenter.com

The scary thing though is that, according to this source, more than 50% of seniors forget to take their medications and that in the USA alone there are 125,000 yearly deaths from improper taking* of medications :(.

 

*: which can be forgetting to take medication, taking the wrong medicine, etc.

3 ways to remember your medication

medication reminders

There is a variety of products and services on the market which you can use to set up your (or someone else’s) reminders and in particular your medication reminders. However, one can roughly divide them into 3 main categories:

1.     Hardware devices

These can be from simple, compartmentalized boxes to very sophisticated electronic devices. Compartmentalized pill boxes (like these https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pill_organizer) are simple plastic boxes where one can place pills in separate compartments for each day of the week and time of the day (typically morning, afternoon, and evening). These are in fact to be considered more as pill organizers rather than medication reminders. A step up in this category are electronic pill boxes, which can be seen as pill boxes with the addition of some kind of visual or audible alarm that will trigger with a given schedule. Some will even have a locking mechanism to control which compartment to open at which given day/time (http://www.medminder.com/). And some more advanced versions can be even equipped with some kind of a caregiver alerting mechanism and/or a two-way communication with a medical emergency service.

2.     Smartphone Apps

There exists a plethora of smartphone Apps (paid and free) that can help you set your reminders. Some are general purpose reminders and some are more geared towards medication reminders. In this category your smartphone becomes your reminder device. Example of such Apps are medisafe and carezone. These Apps are typically more than just medication reminders, but a complete medication management system with contacts to your doctors and pharmacists and even sharing and syncing with other family members’ smartphones.

3.     Telephone services

There is a few online companies that provide voice call (also referred to as VMS for voice message service) and SMS or text services as reminders. The majority are subscription based where you pay a fixed monthly fee. The subscription is typically around 10$ to 20$ depending on the number of daily reminders needed. Such services will basically either place a phone call and play your reminder message (this is the case of Memo24), or send the reminder as a text message. Most of these services will provide you with some kind of an online tool or a dashboard to set and manage your reminders. One has to keep in mind though that these services only work in a limited number of countries, so you need to make sure your country is covered before starting to use a particular service.

So what to pick …

There is no one product/solution that fits all. You have to pick the solution that best covers you needs. Here are some of the things you should consider before settling for a solution:

1. Easy of use: Some products are more advanced than others. In particular smartphone Apps can be not so easy to navigate around, and even completely unusable and inaccessible for the large majority of the elderly. In this respect, telephone services seem to be the easiest and the most “familiar” medication reminder mechanism.

2. Alert mechanism: It is always a big plus (and even a life safer in some circumstances) to chose a solution that offers some kind of an alerting mechanism to a caregiver/family member or even a two-way communication in case you (or your loved one) misses a medication reminder.

3. Accessibility and Availability: Apps are virtually accessible everywhere where you have an internet connection, however hardware devices can be only available in certain countries. As for telephone services, they too typically only cover a limited number of countries.

4. Price: Pricing models widely differ from one category to another and even within products in the same category. For example, hardware devices are usually a one time payment, whereas telephone services are often subscription based, i.e. you pay for a fixed monthly plan fee. Memo24, however, has adopted a pay-as-you-go (or pay-per-use) pricing model.

5. Reporting: Keeping a history of your medication compliance is very important. Such historical records show when and what medication you took (or did not take). Most smartphone Apps come with such a feature. Most hardware devices (except for the high end/expensive models), on the other hand, do not provide such a feature. As for the telephone services, as long as they have some kind of an online dashboard, they will almost certainly provide such a feature.

 

*: image designed by Freepik.

Effectiveness of medication reminders

JAMIA-banner

There has been quite a few studies showing how effective medication reminders are when it comes to improving adherence. “The effectiveness of interventions using electronic reminders to improve adherence to chronic medication: a systematic review of the literature“, is one of those articles that provides a nice review of the literature. The article was published in September 2012 and appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The authors have selected 13 relevant studies from the literature and reported the details on the effectiveness of reminders to improve adherence. The full article is available here for free.

Out of the 13 studies, 4 studies evaluated short message service (SMS) reminders, 7 audiovisual reminders, and 2 pager messages. Audiovisual reminders applies to any (electronic) device that uses some kind of audible or visual (or both) alert as the reminder. Typically these are telephone calls, any type of alarm, or even more sophisticated electronic devices. Memo24 falls in the category of audiovisual reminders since it is indeed a telephone medication reminder service. 7 studies showed significant positive effects on medication adherence, and in particular SMS reminders had a very good score. 

In conclusion, there is no doubt that medication reminders have proved to be effective in improving adherence; however there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. One has to try and find out the best solution that fits his/her needs. Although SMS reminders were found to be very efficient in the studies above, their use remains questionable in case of an elderly person who is not (or is not anymore) familiar with such technology (i.e. difficulty in hearing the incoming message beep, difficulty in handling the mobile phone itself and in reading the message, etc.). It comes as no surprise that loud audible reminders, such as alarms and telephone reminder calls, are indeed the most effective reminder solution for this group of people.

 

 

Happy to see that Memo24 is actually helping people :)

I came across this post today on thecaregiverspace.org website. I am really happy to see that Memo24 is actually helping people to lift some of the burden and worry in their day to day life. It is the story of David and his wife who were looking for a simple solution that will help his father-in-law, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in its early stage, remember to take his daily pills. The problem is that David and his wife live a few hundred miles away from him, and it is difficult for them to check up on him all the time. Memo24 turned out to be a good solution to their problem. I asked David (who of course agreed on me posting this blog), how he is using the solution on a daily basis. And as it turned out, not only David is setting voice call medication reminders for his father-in-law, but also other types of reminders such as his doctor appointments, some of his important events, and even reminding him about watching that upcoming amazing TV documentary :). David has been using Memo24 for several months now, and according to him reminding his father-in-law by simply calling him on his home telephone and playing a message turned out to be quite an effective way to keep his medication compliance at a good level. I wish all the best for David, his wife, and of course his father-in-law for whom medication adherence is very important to keep healthy and fully enjoy life.