This app could help you connect with your loved ones who have Alzheimer’s

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Photo of elderly woman with her caregiver

Image: Shutterstock/Ocskay Bence

If you know or love anyone with Alzheimer’s disease, then you know that it is a degenerative condition that robs people of their memory, among many other things.  It is a terrible illness and it is often as hard on the people who love the sufferer as it is on the sufferer. Emma Yang knows all about that.  She is the granddaughter of an Alzheimer’s patient… and she is on a mission.

Meet Timeless

The Timeless app straightforwardly addresses troubles that plague patients and their families. Issues like memory loss and confusion are particularly frightening and concerning. When people with the disease begin to forget the faces of those whom they love, for example, the app’s facial recognition features help them to identify whom they are with.  The app can also help patients to avoid repeating tasks.  For example, a patient might make the same call to the same person several times.  But with the app, when they start to dial they will get a gentle reminder that they may have already made that call. Another great feature is that friends and family can update the patient on their activities and keep them in the loop so that they feel less confused and disoriented.

The Story Behind Timeless

The pre-teen who invented this app did so inspired by her grandmother who lives thousands of miles away in Hong Kong. Yang lives in New York and her grandmother was already having problems remembering people and things that she saw every day.  Yang realized that her grandma was missing out on a lot of life’s moments because of her disease.  Her confusion caused her to miss important dates or to have trouble even recognizing her own children. But, her granddaughter felt that there had to be a way to help. Technology has helped so many people solve so many complex problems, and this bright and inventive young girl felt sure that it could help her grandmother, and people like her grandmother.

How Yang Did it

Her dad’s a software engineer, and she is passionate about computer science and app development.  So, it seemed logical that she should give her idea a try.  Her father helped her to get past any technical issues and taught her what she did not already know about how to make an app. She also sought the advice of a doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease.  That physician gave her feedback about the app and how to make it better.   But, the 12-year old techie did a great deal of research on Alzheimer’s patients herself.  She wanted to find out what they have the most difficulty with so that she could help. With all of that great information, plus a little bit of scholarship funding and the help of some software developers in Miami, she has created an app unlike anything else out there.

What this app can do, combined with its potential, illustrates just how much technology can better people’s lives. But, perhaps most impressive is the little girl who created it to help her ailing grandmother.

This piece originally appeared on Men’s Trait as “The app that could help you connect with your loved ones with Alzheimer’s.”