When a loved one suffers from dementia, it can become a loss for the entire family. That person – usually a family elder – has been a walking, talking storehouse of memories that everyone could tap into, and suddenly, the person can’t remember her/his name! Let alone yours.
Jenny Rozbruch confronted this terrible illness head-on and created an iPad app, GreyMatters. It was in honour of her grandmother, Frieda Rozbruch, who suffered from vascular dementia which had affected her short-term memory and independent functioning.
Jenny found that “her long term memory and spirit could be drawn out dramatically through simple activities like looking through photos from her youth, listening to familiar music, and hearing her life story told back to her.” This is why Jenny set out to create a product that would “make it easier to tap into these remaining–yet often hidden–abilities in people with dementia, and help family members, of all ages, connect with their loved ones.”
GreyMatters interactive, life-storybook kind of format helps revive some memories in dementia sufferers, even if temporarily, but it also helps younger family members connect with them. The app has been designed for easy accessibility and understanding. It includes features like a customised “My Life” story pages filled with long term memories from your loved one’s life. You can upload your own family photos, accompanied by brief text and voice narration.” You can use music and games as well, as it allows you to customise a music playlist that the person once enjoyed.
It also has a video recording feature for any impromptu recollections that can be recorded and shared with family members. And you can set audio-visual customised reminders and cues too. Another great feature is the universal content packs, which lets a family pre-load “My World” story pages filled with universal content that appeals to your loved one’s interests by generation–such as entertainers, films, politics & pop culture from the 1930s, 40s & 50s.”
While apps are not a cure for mental illnesses, they do help to keep sufferers and caregivers in an engaged and caring relationship. Jenny has collaborated with PhDs and doctors to develop this app, and it can be downloaded from the iTunes store free of cost.