Staying Active and Social

Two technology companies have created products that boost memory recall, increase social interaction and motivate individuals with dementia to get moving. 

 Photo by Hillary Gauld-Camilleri/One for the Wall Photography

Photo by Hillary Gauld-Camilleri/One for the Wall Photography

1 | MemorySparx One

How It Works:

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As the founder and CEO of Emmetros Limited — a tech start-up in Waterloo, Ontario — Mary Pat Hinton is dedicated to finding electronic ways to help people with early dementia symptoms. The company’s MemorySparx One app, which first launched in May 2017, is a memory-recall tool for iPad and iPhone users. The app’s aim is to boost its users’ confidence. 

“There is an anxiety when someone is asked a question they can’t answer,” says Hinton, who used to work at Blackberry. “After a time, that anxiety about being put on the spot might result in individuals deciding not to go out anymore — social isolation is a huge problem for individuals with dementia.”

With an easy-to-use interface (which was carefully designed after 1,500 hours of research) MemorySparx One helps individuals remember important details needed for day-to-day social interactions. Doctor’s appointments, shopping lists, the names and faces of friends and family members, important milestones — all of these things, and much more, can be recorded in the app and used as prompts during social interactions. In addition to typing notes and tracking to-do lists, the app also uses visual cues like photographs and audio prompts to aid memory recall. 

Hinton is hopeful that MemorySparx One will help users living with early dementia symptoms regain their feelings of independence.

“I hope MemorySparx One helps increase users’ confidence, enabling them to say yes to things, to not be reliant on others to speak for them, and to be more in control,” she says.


How to Buy It:

Register to become a MemorySparx One member by visiting memorysparx.com/pricing. After a 30-day free trial, the app’s monthly membership costs US$13.99; a yearly membership is billed at US$11.67 per month. 


 Photo courtesy Motitech

Photo courtesy Motitech

2 | Motiview by Motitech AS

How It Works:

Motiview makes it possible for people to cycle down roads all over the world, without ever leaving the safety of their home or care facility. Consisting of a user-adapted stationary bike and a display screen that shows location videos, Motiview is a motivational tool for seniors and individuals with dementia, encouraging physical activity by tapping into its users’ connection to familiar cities and landscapes. 

While pedalling the stationary bike, individuals can virtually cycle down familiar roads or “travel” beyond familiar locations to somewhere brand-new and inspiring. Music or environmental sounds are offered with the videos, further motivating seniors to get moving. 

Developed by a Norwegian company called Motitech AS, Motiview first expanded beyond Norway in 2016 and was made available in England and Canada this year. 

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Today, the Motiview library has almost 2,000 videos from all over Europe and North America, including Alberta locations like Lake Louise, Waterton and Calgary. As Motitech has its own network of camera operators and crews that travel the world to make these videos, the number available will increase each year. 

“All people have one thing in common: when we see a familiar place on television, we point at the screen and [share] our memories from that specific place,” says Jon Ingar Kjenes, CEO of Motitech. “Motiview transforms this positive energy from recognition into motivation for physical activity.”

In addition to promoting memory recall and encouraging conversation, Motiview helps users experience the various positive effects of exercise. [ ]


How to Buy It:

For more information on purchasing the software, visit motitech.no/en. Licensing ranges from $800 to $4,000.