12-year-old girl creates app to communicate with her grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s. Emma Yang is a special girl. At the age of 12, she lives in a difficult reality that is becoming familiar to millions of people.
Emma’s grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease almost five years ago and now lives in Hong Kong. Emma experienced, sometimes from a distance and other times when she was able to visit her in person, how her grandmother forgot important things little by little.
She began to forget her age and sometimes could not understand why she did not come to dinner or was so far away. Later, the most painful thing that happened to this young girl: her own grandmother began to confuse her with other relatives.
It is not easy to live life this way. Being close to someone who is suffering from Alzheimer’s is a very difficult emotional challenge.
It is difficult for the patient, for their family, and especially for a group of people who are not usually mentioned: children.
Emma Yang’s story is remarkable because of a special aspect. It is something that will not only help her own grandmother, but many other people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Here’s what it’s all about.
“Timeless:” a mobile app for patients with Alzheimer’s
Emma Yang’s biggest fear is that her grandmother will not recognize her anymore. And that some day will no longer exist the mind of his beloved family member.
- Sooner or later, this will happen. There will come a time when her moments of clarity are like little invitations back to the real world where you connect with your loved ones. However, this only happens once in a while.
- Still, it is important to keep in mind that Alzheimer’s patients respond positively to something very concrete. Love, signs of affection and care.
- It is clear for a girl who is only 12 years old, then this is not enough. She refuses to let her grandmother disappear forever, allowing her mind to erase any memory of her granddaughter, and removing the special bond they used to have.
To combat this development of forgetfulness, Emma has created a mobile app called “Timeless” to prevent these important things from fading.
It will make the most beautiful and meaningful things in your life “forever”.
An app for patients with Alzheimer’s
Emma Yang has collaborated with Dr. Melissa Kramps, a physician who specializes in Alzheimer’s to create a mobile app that has two very specific purposes.
- The first function is called “updates”, and it is intended to ensure that people with Alzheimer’s can always stay in touch with their relatives.
- Their children, grandchildren, friends and other loved ones can interact with them through pictures and messages. The app will always inform the patient that they are communicating with and remind them of the relationship that they are sharing.
- The second function is called “identification”. Here a patient can review their family tree, remembering facts, details, pictures and moments at any time.
- Thanks to the camera on the phone, all they have to do is point at a particular person to be reminded of who they are.
Another detail that is both useful and interesting refers to timing and calendars. A person with Alzheimer’s will receive a warning every time they try to call a family member more than twice (they will be reminded that they have already called them).
It can also notify the patient of upcoming dates to remember special events like Easter and Christmas.
A young prodigy with a clear dream
Emma Yang had some valuable help in developing this mobile app. In addition to the help of Dr. Kramps, she also received support for the project through a scholarship.
- Emma’s parents are computer savvy and work for a company that specializes in creating face recognition technology.
- Her passion for technology comes from her family, and when Emma was only eight years old, she was already an expert in development with HTML and CSS Web. The secrets of Java and applications for MIT App Inventor.
- Her professional career has only just begun. But Emma Yang has just one purpose: to use technology and eventually even virtual reality to help people with Alzheimer’s protect their memories.
- Perhaps in the future, these strategies will be combined with others to achieve this goal. For now, this app is only useful for patients who are still able to use a mobile device.
This app provides a way to slow down the loss of cognitive abilities, but once the patient’s disorder is advanced, they require daily support from their network of family and professionals.