Public Health Insight

Supporting Caregivers: Innovative Solutions in Dementia Care

October 13, 2020 PHI Productions
Supporting Caregivers: Innovative Solutions in Dementia Care
Public Health Insight
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Public Health Insight
Supporting Caregivers: Innovative Solutions in Dementia Care
Oct 13, 2020
PHI Productions

3.5 million Canadians are considered primary caregivers for someone living with dementia. These caregivers are often unpaid and rarely receive formal support, leading to high rates of burnout and other negative health outcomes. Rishawn Dindial and Praja Vaikuntharajan share their knowledge with the Public Health Insight Podcast about the burden experienced by dementia caregivers and how healthcare technology, such as the Memoryz App, can be used to alleviate caregiver dual-role strain.

Partnership with the Global Health Students and Young Professionals Summit

The Canadian Global Health Students & Young Professionals Summit (GHSYPS) aims to give space to students and young professionals (SYPs) involved or interested in the global health field. This is the forum for global health SYPs to connect, network, engage, and be inspired. Learn more about GHSYPS by visiting: The Summit takes place on Saturday, October 17, 2020 - it is free to register!

References for Our Discussion 

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Show Notes Transcript

3.5 million Canadians are considered primary caregivers for someone living with dementia. These caregivers are often unpaid and rarely receive formal support, leading to high rates of burnout and other negative health outcomes. Rishawn Dindial and Praja Vaikuntharajan share their knowledge with the Public Health Insight Podcast about the burden experienced by dementia caregivers and how healthcare technology, such as the Memoryz App, can be used to alleviate caregiver dual-role strain.

Partnership with the Global Health Students and Young Professionals Summit

The Canadian Global Health Students & Young Professionals Summit (GHSYPS) aims to give space to students and young professionals (SYPs) involved or interested in the global health field. This is the forum for global health SYPs to connect, network, engage, and be inspired. Learn more about GHSYPS by visiting: The Summit takes place on Saturday, October 17, 2020 - it is free to register!

References for Our Discussion 

Support Our Show

If you like our show, feel free to lend us some support by making a contribution on our Patreon page (link below) so we can continue creating the content that you enjoy as we expand the Public Health Insight Community.

Icon made by monkik from 

Send us a Text Message to let us know what you think.

 [00:00:00] Wil: Dear Public Health Insight listeners, my name is Wil, and we hope that everyone is doing well today. Before we begin this week's episode, we wanted to share that Public Health Insight has recently partnered up with Canadian Global Health Students and Young Professionals Summit. This is an annual volunteer led event aimed at engaging, connecting and inspiring young professionals and students interested in the field of global health.

[00:00:21] Given the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the planning committee has decided that this year's event will be held on a virtual platform and also will be available free of charge for all interested participants. Registration is now available, and more information can be found at the link in the description.

[00:00:37] Thank you. And enjoy the rest of the episode. 

[00:00:41] Sully: Public health is a population-based field of science focused on preventing disease and promoting health. Every week, we will be engaging in interactive discussions and analyses of the latest public of issues affecting you and your communities all around the world.

[00:00:58] This is the [00:01:00] Public Health Insight podcast. 

[00:01:02] Gordon: My name is Gordon, your host for this podcast episode. And I'm here with Leshawn, Linda and two, yup. that's right. Two special guests who'll be introduced later. 

[00:01:11] Ben: Before we move on its important to note that the views expressed in this podcast are our own and do not represent any of the organizations we work for or affiliated with. 

[00:01:19] Gordon: So I wanted to transition our discussion to talk a little bit about societal burden for caregivers, you know, the economic burden for caregivers and broader society as well, and some of the innovations in dementia care, such as, um, the Memoryz app, which you'll be discussing in the kind of health tech space.

[00:01:40] So the cost associated with the worldwide burden of dementia is expected to exceed $2 trillion by the year 2030. Uh, this economic burden is expected to overwhelm the social and long-term care as well as the healthcare capacity in both low middle income and high income [00:02:00] countries. So picking up where we left off, um, Praja and Rishawn will remain with us on this episode to discuss the burden on caregivers, uh, as well as how technology can be used to alleviate those burdens, and create an environment where people living with dementia are better able to maintain their independence. And in the words of James Arthur, Arthur Baldwin, an American activist, not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it's faced. So with that said, let's talk about the caregiver burden of dementia.

[00:02:35] So in Canada, um, I believe Memoryz is a white paper, said that there is about 3.5 million Canadians that are considered primary caregivers for someone with dementia. And this stems from sort of this desire to keep, you know, I think Rishawn alluded to this, um, that, you know, to keep their families and friends at home because that's more of a cultural, um, ideology and then the perceived [00:03:00] obligation of the partner, the spouse.

[00:03:01] So let's spend some time to unpack how caregivers are affected in terms of the financial burden and the amount of time that they have to spend caring for their loved ones.

[00:03:11] Rishawn: Sure. Um, and I think Praja, um, I'll let you get into some of the nitty-gritty in terms of the things that we talk about at the company, but if everyone will allow me, I do have a little bit of an example that I'd like to share for y'all as well as for the listeners. 

[00:03:23] Leshawn: Please, absolutely. 

[00:03:24] Rishawn: Um, so I'll ask everyone here to close their eyes and everyone listening, feel free to do this with me, but close your eyes. It's 10 years down the line and you're coming home from one of many stressful days that's become a commonplace in your life. You realize the time quietly opened the door you've been out for at least 12 hours.

[00:03:39] You gently approached the kitchen and opened the fridge door. Covered in saran wrap is a plate on the middle shelf at eye-level with a note eat at 1:00 PM. Besides that a second plate eat at 7:00 PM. Neither touched, neither consumed. As you approach your living room with heaviness, beginning to set on you.

[00:03:57] You see the TV on remote on the floor and a [00:04:00] puddle of yellow carpet stained the odor is pungent. Today does not seem to have been a good day. You take off the TV and enter the hallway. Everyone's now on the same floor, as you moved into a bungalow earlier this year for safety. First, you check on your daughter.

[00:04:15] If the door is ajar or light is on, but she's sound asleep. This is the first time you smiled all day. With a kiss on the forehead, you take off the light and close the door, but your father's door is wide open, empty. You're too tired to panic, but you feel your heart racing. Praying for an easy solution, you approached the back of the house and feel a breeze.

[00:04:33] The patio doors open and asleep on the chairs is your father in soiled pajamas. You feel relief, sadness and pain all at once. The costs begin to pile up in your head. One, replace the carpet. We'll all need to work another shift. Two, I need to wake him, but he'll startle and wake up my daughter perhaps. Three, he needs a bath, but I have to be at work in six hours. Do I have the energy to do this? It's all too much, but you realize it's not as much as what your father [00:05:00] is living with. What he's living with is dementia. And as we mentioned earlier, every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. To put that in today's context, in the 20 seconds it took for you to wash your hands, six families received a diagnosis that changed their lives forever. 

[00:05:14] Gordon: Wow.

[00:05:15] Rishawn: I think that is, uh, an example that is a little serious, but I think it does bring to play some of the different burdens and experiences that caregivers are facing. 

[00:05:24] Gordon: Wow. That was thanks for sharing. Thanks for that was awesome. Thank you. So that, I mean, to pick up on the, in the, um, you had referenced the changing of the carpet thing and, um, you know, I think some people listening might think it's trivial, but I think what you're saying is that kind of captures the experience in a nutshell that they're being pulled all kinds of different ways.

[00:05:49] Um, with the financial burden, the emotional strain as well for, you know, oftentimes it's a loved one that you're seeing suffering. And while you recognize kind of that, [00:06:00] um, you know, as a caregiver, you have an enormous burden, um, you're empathetic toward the needs of your loved one. Seeing them struggle themselves and not knowing, you know, when to eat, um, where they are at times.

[00:06:12] So I think that in a nutshell captured very well, the experiences of a caregiver. So thanks for sharing. 

[00:06:19] Rishawn: No, absolutely. And I think, um, one of the reasons why I started this company is, uh, my personal experience, being a caregiver for my grandfather that lives with dementia, that was very much the beginning of what it is that we were trying to do.

[00:06:31] And we are still supporting families experiencing dementia, but over time and understanding these stats, hearing from caregivers and project can definitely speak to some of the interviews we've done. I've fallen in love with caregivers. I think they are the unsung heroes um, of our world and while dementia care and research is neglected, the support for these individuals is even more neglected the unpaid care in terms of, um, price or sorry, the cost that could be facing like healthcare systems is huge.

[00:06:57] The stress that they put onto themselves, [00:07:00] um, Unknowingness of what's going to happen in the next day or the next day, whether their loved one is going to be able to make it, if they can make it to work themselves and be present, um, dealing with all, any other family and care responsibilities. I think it's a group that's already at risk of different, um, disease associated morbidities because of the stress. And I think they, uh, everything that we can do to support them on their journey to support their family is what we should be doing is where I stand. 

[00:07:25] Linda: What do you think Rishawn is perhaps the biggest or most impactful way that we can support caregivers? I know you mentioned several, but if you could narrow it or scenario, I'm thinking like financial or, um, perhaps just the lack of, um, support from the wider community, like it's often an invisible task. So where do you think resources could best be the allocated? 

[00:07:50] Rishawn: Yeah, I think, um, there's two places where, uh, I would say maximum benefit can be achieved, obviously. Um, and this is going to be one of the two is those [00:08:00] financial, um, it's unrealistic to, um, to say that.

[00:08:04] Uh, enough, like stimulus can be provided financially to support every single caregiver and their needs. So I think there needs to be other solutions and there's two full doors are two ways. One I think is through technology. Um, companies like memoryz and other companies that are out there trying to support caregivers and relieving some of the task management burden.

[00:08:21] Anything to make their lives a bit easier to support their loved ones. That's something that technology should be leveraged for. And the other side is advocacy, um, and, uh, understanding that there's other people out there. I think what we've seen through conversation is that caregivers have had such diverse experiences where they have learned an anecdotal experience that may be beneficial for someone else, or they just need a friend in the moment.

[00:08:43] They appreciate that what they're in is a tough situation. Um, and knowing that there's someone next door that's in a similarly tough situation can provide enough benefit to get through the day. Um, and I think companies like ours, for example, our approach is to empower caregivers by leveraging the network of caregivers we're trying to [00:09:00] build and support and connecting them through technology is best case scenario.

[00:09:03] But, um, yeah, Praja, if you have any other thoughts, 

[00:09:07] Praja: So I've conducted about over 15 interviews or conversations. I've had over 15 conversations with various caregivers of various age groups, race as well as just kind of life stage. And it's unbelievable how diverse their experiences are. So just a scenario that Rishawn kind of gave you guys, um, I've listened to like 20 versions of that. And I can't even imagine how it is to experience that on a daily basis or multiple times a day. 

[00:09:37] And one thing that I do want to bring up that I've heard from almost every one of them is, and I want to reiterate is the fact that there's definitely a need for support. Um, when you come into this and when you become a caregiver officially with the diagnosis, there's not necessarily like a nice handbook or, um, a course outline, or [00:10:00] even like any kind of guidance.

[00:10:02] Like for example, if you get pregnant, your doctor provides you with like, uh, what to do, um, for those nine months, as well as post those nine months. Whereas dementia patients and the caregivers don't necessarily receive that. And so, because of that, because of the lack of research and the lack of resources that support that community, that these people have been looking for, and only some have been successful.

[00:10:24] For example, these people that we found to interview, they actually, we found them through social media, whether it's through Instagram or Facebook and that's because they themselves have gained the confidence to share their story. And so there's an immense number of caregivers who aren't on social media and who do not connect or receive that social support.

[00:10:47] But they would like to, and I think obviously I don't have the answer to how to solve that issue, but that's a huge, a huge, huge issue that isn't necessarily spoken about outside of the caregiver world. 

[00:10:58] Leshawn: Yeah. Praja that's a [00:11:00] great point. And, you know, even from my personal experience living with Uh, my grandmother with dementia, it's, it's really tough because like you mentioned, there are no guides or there is no, like, there are some educational resources, but you know, how do people access them?

[00:11:17] And you know, how do you take care of someone with dementia when you're not certain what, how to react when they maybe don't want to take a shower after not taking a shower for a couple of days, how to get them to eat after not eating um, for extended period of time, you know, and like you're, you're facing an individual who may, you know, typically have a, a mood swing may be more aggressive or hostile towards you understanding that they are suffering this disease.

[00:11:44] So it's really hard to kind of understand how to manage these situations. So I think a lot of work has to go into kind of giving the resources to people and understanding their perspective and experiences like you, you guys at Memoryz are doing so I think that's [00:12:00] great. 

[00:12:00] Praja: Just like any way that we can make their lives easier. So things that they can control. Like, or helping them control certain aspects of their life. For example, like the reminders aspect that we have on our application, um, even communicating with the caregiver, um, between the caregiver and the care receiver is a big thing. Um, for example, if the care receiver is at home, um, and the caregiver is out shopping, there is a method of communication between them. So, kind of making their day-to-day lives a little bit easier is very, very helpful, 

[00:12:39] Gordon: you know, based on the research that's out there too. Um, we can see, unpaid caregivers of seniors living with dementia on the mental health perspective, they, they experience, um, you know, more distress than caregivers for seniors with other kinds of chronic conditions.

[00:12:57] So, um, there's a report apparently that, um, [00:13:00] one-third um, of people who care for someone who was living with dementia, um, often report symptoms of depression or other cognitive impairments, and they often need to be prescribed medications themselves to treat those conditions. So even from the health and mental health side of things, these caregivers are experiencing some negative health outcomes as well.

[00:13:24] Praja: And the thing is social isolation. And I know you guys talked about that in a previous episode of that is something that not only do the dementia patients have to go through, but the caregivers themselves experienced that due to the amount of time and effort that they put into their caregiving duties and the idea that due to the stigma and the cultural barriers that are present with dementia and caregiving, that's not something that people really like to talk about.

[00:13:53] And also it's not necessarily a positive conversation usually. And so it just kind of becomes [00:14:00] something that they hold within themselves and kind of, um, adds to their mental debate within themselves in their family. But it's definitely not talked about as much as it should be.

[00:14:12] Gordon: And from reading the, the white paper, great job on the paper, by the way.

[00:14:16] Um, good read. And, uh, it's I feel like it presents information that is easy to understand that no matter what type of person reads it or their educational background. So one of the concepts that I learned from reading that report is that's something called a dual role strain. Um, can you explain a little bit more about what that means in the context of, I guess, caregivers? 

[00:14:39] Rishawn: Yeah. I mean, I can touch on that and thank you, um, for the comments on the white paper, I'd like to shout out every single person on the Memoryz team who took the time to do the research, to put that together, um, to really go deep into this topic and present something in an accessible way. Um, But in terms of dual role strain, I think that really comes down to an individual providing [00:15:00] care for their loved one, as well as still being a loved one.

[00:15:03] It's quite an interesting dynamic where, um, I've heard some caregivers say that they, in order to distance themselves from their parents in this situation, they start addressing them by their first name, for example, um, being able to provide care for somebody or do some of the tasks that you need to do for an individual.

[00:15:20] Um, that's your parents can be so stressful. And it can lead to this like almost dissonance state where you really have trouble dealing with the task that you have to do. And in order to rationalize this, just separating that into, okay, this is an individual that's named Harry that I have to take care of.

[00:15:38] Um, and then removing yourself from that situation. This is okay, this is my father now. Um, and I care about him. I'd love to connect and be there and support and managing these two roles, on an everyday basis on a situation by situation side, when perhaps you're taking care of somebody very instantly, and then you look into their eyes and you realize that this is still my dad out there can be incredibly [00:16:00] taxing. And that's what we're referring to. 

[00:16:01] Gordon: Right. So it's almost like a compartmentalization of the interactions, I guess, especially in the case to when, if it's, if it, if it's a case of your parent and then maybe they don't recognize you anymore, you probably wouldn't use the words, mom or dad less because they would probably be confused.

[00:16:15] So it's even more of a reason to want to, you know, compartmentalize or separate yourself mentally from the situation. Perfect. And there's another interesting fact I wanted to touch on, um, in terms of dementia. So dementia is disproportionately affects women about three quarters of the cases in Canada specifically are women for dementia.

[00:16:38] And I know, I think this is particularly interesting to me, uh, because another study in a Canadian context also highlighted that about almost two thirds of caregivers were also females. So what we're seeing is females are disproportionately more likely to be diagnosed with dementia, and they're also more likely to be the caregiver.

[00:16:59] So [00:17:00] the caregiver burden essentially falls a lot of time on our, on our women. So I was wondering if, if there's anything specific we should be doing to address this reality. 

[00:17:10] Rishawn: I can talk a little bit about, um, the caregiver side of things. Um, I think, and if anyone else, context or hypothesis as to the, um, distribution of the disease in terms of that, um, staff feel free to chime in, but I think ultimately a lot of this does come down to gender roles, um, that have been very much affirmed in society.

[00:17:28] Um, and I think when it comes to the burden of care, um, definitely there's situations where, um, the female in the family may take the responsibility upon themselves. Um, and it's extremely unfortunate, but I think it really does speak to the fact that, um, women have built society. Um, and I think that everything that we do have is because of like a loving mother or somebody who's been there to provide care.

[00:17:53] And I think, um, being able to handle all these different responsibilities, whether that's caring for a father, caring for a [00:18:00] child, maintaining the household, ensuring that everyone's fed and other things are responsibilities that, um, sort of, uh, women do take on and continue to tack onto themselves. Um, because they do feel like, well, one, this is something that they'd been doing for a long time and it's something that they're passionate about.

[00:18:15] Um, and they are fundamentally responsible for keeping families together and supporting moving forward. Um, but I think figuring out ways to lessen that burden on the individual, which can involve using different people in the family, um, whether that's a spouse so that that's a son, um, or other people is definitely key to mitigating this. 

[00:18:35] Um, and because of that, because of like just the increased stress that these females are taking in terms of caregiving, it does exacerbate the risk for other things, whether those are chronic diseases or increased risk for depression or other things. So it's a, it's a very complicated relationship that's unfortunate. Um, and we should aim to change. 

[00:18:52] Praja: And this is not only prevalent in dementia. There's a stat somewhere where it says that men who get a stroke [00:19:00] are more likely to survive because they have their wife essentially to take care of them. Whereas women who have a stroke one are not likely to survive because they, their husband could have passed away due to women just having a longer life expectancy, but also the fact that men haven't taken up that role, um, statistically. But yeah, this is definitely just a, definitely a global issue that spans across dementia as well as other chronic illnesses. 

[00:19:29] Gordon: Interesting.

[00:19:29] That's a great point. I did not know. Um, okay. So I guess just to, to wind things down and we'll dedicate the last section of this episode to talk specifically about Memoryz. Um, but I just wanted to highlight, um, and I guess Memoryz is related to this, um, you know, the healthcare burden specifically, um, for, you know, chronic diseases such as dementia, um, is a very important issue that needs to be addressed. Um, we know that there's [00:20:00] billions and maybe even trillions of dollars that go into, um, caring for people with dementia who go through the healthcare system. And a lot of, in a lot of cases, um, a large number of people living with dementia occupy, you know, I think Praja touched on this earlier occupy hospital beds due to a lack of other alternate care facilities. Uh, maybe there's a wait list for long-term care homes and families aren't able to get, um, you know, more appropriate care for their loved ones for, for, for people living with dementia. And I know when Leshawn and I were speaking about, you know, in a lot of cases, um, there's a long wait list for those long-term care facilities, which then feeds back into the healthcare system and creates an additional strain.

[00:20:47] Praja: So I think like one, I guess, solution would be to, um, increase the caregiver bandwidth. So just try to keep these people with dementia at home, as much as possible, [00:21:00] obviously, um, ensuring that the caregiver is able to manage that burden, but in terms of reducing, um, long-term care home and assisted living as well as hospital, um, expenditure as well as just quality of life. Um, Trying to keep them at home, so thereby increasing the caregiver bandwidth is an essential, or is a very plausible solution. And that's something that Memoryz is striving to do.

[00:21:25] Rishawn: And I think if you, every year, the, um, oh, well TCA, Ontario long-term care association, and I'm sure different provinces in different countries and states, it's a very similar organization.

[00:21:35] Yeah, sorry. They produce a report that talks about the current state of affairs. What they've been dealing with, the amount of bed space that they have what's projected moving forward. Um, ultimately the report really serves as a call to action that we're overburdened. These are the areas where we could be improved, whether that's tech, whether that's external partnerships or government support.

[00:21:53] Um, and how can you help us get there is really what's happening, right? Understanding that, that, um, it's not just [00:22:00] onto the long-term care homes to be able to mitigate the issues here. I think, yes. It's ensuring that people are able to stay at home, um, if they want, um, and they, that they do have that option and enable, sorry, in order to do that, you do need to empower the caregivers, but I think it's also looking at different methods and models of care.

[00:22:18] For these individuals, um, traditionally memory care facilities have been, um, archaically labeled as being almost prison-like based on sort of the strict regimen of what it is. Do you have to experience there? The drugs, the interactions between the healthcare providers and the individuals living with dementia. 

[00:22:34] Not necessarily a fantastic living experience, but also probably one of the only places for people to turn to, if long-term care homes are full, if they don't have the physical capacity at home to be able to provide care for the loved ones. So I think, um, something that came out of London and it's been absolutely fantastic.

[00:22:50] It's the butterfly model of care. Um, there was a home in Peel region in Ontario that has employed this and it's had astoundingly successful results. And ultimately [00:23:00] what it comes down to is basically building a community, um, within a home, like a larger home structure or individuals living with memory impairment, and uh, Alzheimer's and dementia, where they go in there, they get to wear their plain clothes. They have tasks that they get to do and partake in to keep the brain stimulated. The healthcare providers at there, they are also in plain clothes, they're working together and constructively on ensuring that each individual that's part of this home has their own function within that micro society.

[00:23:28] Um, really getting to do things that provided some joy for them in the past, uh, and having that stimulation instead of being. This is a home that I'm in, this is my bed, these are the drugs, and this is the schedule, um, understanding different methods of care, um, providing that level of respect to these individuals, um, and treating them in this humane way, I think is a really cool way to move forward.

[00:23:48] Um, instead of, uh, as sort of a happy medium in between yes, we have overburden long-term care homes. Yes. We need to support caregivers. Is there an in-between that successful and imploring this model, I think is a way. 

[00:23:59] Gordon: Thanks for [00:24:00] sharing those innovations on, um, how memory care homes can better meet the needs of patients experiencing memory impairments and, um, you know, people experiencing dementia, but I wanted to, um, get your perspective as someone in the field, both you and Praja, um, what are some of those, um, current gaps that we're having in terms of leveraging technology specifically for those people living with dementia and their caregivers as well. 

[00:24:30] Rishawn: What else say when it comes to technology? Technology is a beautiful thing. I think it's able to improve quality of life. It, it does, um, provide resources in instance, and it does provide a lot of benefit to numerous people.

[00:24:42] And I think technological design is something that's been, so hyper-focused on, each progressively younger generation, um, making things, even cooler to use, making things, even snappier and getting things done in a faster way, providing as much information as possible. Um, and having a clean [00:25:00] minimalistic, almost sleek design to most things, um, is something that's continuously happening with tech design.

[00:25:05] I think also the testing and building of applications happen to very homogenous populations. Um, and I think that people who are seeing and interacting with that gets us, it's a cycle. And I think that's an issue when it comes to, um, providing services through technology for caregivers, for those in the elderly population as well, because, uh, areas that are lacking are user interface, accessibility of colors, and then easy to use design that's functional, but it's not overbearing.

[00:25:33] And I think that's an area of design that has yet to be really focused on when it comes to applications and leveraging tech to support a community. Uh, of course we need to be consistently updated with all applications in this space, especially the caregiver, um, task management side. And increasingly you see some applications that are fantastic for a younger population, that'll provide as much data as possible that you'd ever need dashboard upon dashboard. Um, building this really secure [00:26:00] VHR network, uh, connecting to physicians and all sorts of things, everything that you need. Um, and it's just a feature overload for an individual that just needs to know. Did I feed my dad? Is that it, or the individual that's maybe has early cognitive impairment would maybe just like to see a photo of their loved ones without having to go through numerous steps in an application, or perhaps just being able to call someone by saying their name, instead of having to type in a number they're very simple core functionalities in tech that we could have done years and years ago.

[00:26:30] Um, but as we continue to say hyper developed in terms of a younger population and these age old solutions that are very beneficial. Um, haven't really been explored in a way that's scalable for these communities. So I think that's very core to our design. And I think for any company that does want to be successful in this state, uh, sorry, in this space, you really have to start with the end user when it comes to design, what's the core function that they need and how best can they interact with tech and then what do we use resources wise to get them.

[00:26:57] Gordon: They're awesome. And I think even in the white [00:27:00] paper, I think it was mentioned that there were more than 200,000 different mobile health, uh, tech-related apps on the market, but then there's very little focus kind of on the specific needs on the caregiver side. So I guess that would also, in addition to the simplistic user interface that, you know, that meets the needs of the target audience. There's also like in terms of quantity, there's not very many of them out there in the first place. So in terms of, um, Memoryz, um, specifically, um, maybe just introduce, I know you, you met you, um, of course you're, you're the founder, but tell us a little bit more about. Memoryz and what specific goals you hope to achieve with this application? 

[00:27:41] Rishawn: Absolutely. Sure. Um, so I think Memoryz right now, and when we initially started to do, was to provide transparency for families experiencing dementia, that's core of what it is that we're doing, and we're doing that through activity tracking event reminders and through reporting.

[00:27:57] So that'd be family caregivers, our [00:28:00] understanding of what's happening with their loved ones that they're able to send reminders forward. We're able to understand task completion. If the loved one is interacting with Memoryz, and then we provide boot support through our conversational chat bot, Iris, cause as we did mention, um, outside of the cognitive impairment aspect, there is an apathy and a depression components of Alzheimer's and dementia that we would like to provide some support to, um, as such, we also believe that using a chat bot is the easiest interface for a tax population to be able to interact with text.

[00:28:28] So that's something that we're really focusing on through our chat bot, Iris, um, and through caregiver interviews, we've been able to realize that, and this actually spurred a new version of our application, which we're currently testing called the caregiver companion is that I'm supporting caregivers through something like a chat, just to remind them to do that, to complete their tasks, um, when it comes to taking care of their loved one, checking in on their own mental health and ensuring that self care is part of the routine for them, there's something that we're testing, but that's very much the micro-focus of what Memoryz is doing.

[00:28:58] I think macro wise and in [00:29:00] terms of long-term, and the success of this company and not even success, I would say a support for a population that needs support is, um, based on two things. One it's understanding the Memoryz is actually building a platform, um, outside of, uh, a tech company where we're really trying to unite caregivers. 

[00:29:16] Be that resource. You mentioned where as soon as you do become a caregiver in this journey, you can turn to us, not protect, , but to hear from other caregivers to, to have the support, um, to have accessible information and to realize that you're a part of, I would say, a large group of people who are in a similar position that there's numerous nonprofits out there to support you, um, that there's other organizations out there where you can get aid.

[00:29:38] That's what we would love to do with our social media and our platform. And then in terms of where we would like to take the product, there's two directions. One is as much support for caregivers as possible. Um, leveraging other APIs and integrations with applications to provide data tracking, um, for folks, whether their loved wearing . wearing, let's say a gate monitor or any sort of fitness or health tracking [00:30:00] or a fall detector, being able to have that information stream directly to Memoryz. Um, and the caregiver being aware at all times is fantastic and it's key to our scalability. And I think how we would like to leverage chat in the future is a little bit different than the traditional approach right now. So most applications are really moving towards, as I mentioned earlier, the electronic health record side of things, um, as well as incorporating physicians and other care providers into the equation, I think that's fantastic. Um, but I think that's just not an area of focus for us.

[00:30:31] What we would love to do is become as personalized as possible with the conversations that we have, where if let's say my grandfather is using Memoryz application that he's talking to Iris and Iris said, is that okay? My grandfather's happy when he's talking about, uh, let's say playing bingo and he gets distressed when we're talking about grocery shopping, understanding that very personal interaction.

[00:30:51] And then when we identify that my grandfather's feeling distressed, talking about bingo more being proactive and providing mental health support through conversation and something [00:31:00] that's very core to us. And by using a chat system, we have the opportunity to move into the internet of things, atmosphere by placing an individual at the center of their own care and to drive.

[00:31:10] All these things are court or wherever we're going to go in the future. 

[00:31:13] Praja: Back for lack of a better term on that. Um, so the non applications, I just wanted to, um, expand on what we're doing outside of the creation of the application. So in terms of the caregivers, we started an initiative called caregiver spotlight. So this is where all those interviews come into play, or we're trying to gather as much insider information essentially into the actual experiences, the struggles, um, what they do to help them, what worked for them, what didn't work for them, and essentially create these episodes that were kind of, uh, we're going to call caregiver insight and kind of be, as Rishawn said, uh, A guide like a guide or a support system where they can come to us to get this kind of information, and to know that this information came from other [00:32:00] caregivers like them. And so we're trying to fill that gap in, in terms of the knowledge, as well as be a platform for caregivers to share their experiences and provide insight into these various aspects of caregiving that is right now, at least, um, there's just not enough information.

[00:32:17] Leshawn: Okay. Um, so thank you, Praja and Rishawn, uh, for Memoryz for this captivating discussion on the significance of dementia, but we would like to give you an opportunity to share any last words you may have on dementia and Memoryz for our audience in terms of how to learn more about that, et cetera. So the floor is yours.

[00:32:35] Rishawn: Sure. Um, I'll use this as a little bit of a pitch and a little bit of a personal statement. Um, I would say we are actively beta testing our application. Um, feel free to follow us on social media. Everything is either Memoryz with Z or at our Memoryz with Z that as well. Um, sign up for our beta test to help us build a caregiver application for caregivers, whether yourself, or um, know, somebody that works have caregiver for somebody living with dementia, or you have [00:33:00] a family member that you think would need support. Please check out our website and provide us as much feedback as possible as we aim to launch outside of that. Um, I think everybody who's listening and anybody who is intrigued by this space, do your best to connect with people who you think are caregivers, and that could need support.

[00:33:17] Um, it's an incredibly taxing journey and something as sweet as a hey, how are you doing? I'm free for a phone call at any time messages like that. Being a resource for people, who have no idea at any point, the sort of burden that people are facing, um, and people need people at all times. And so I think be proactive in providing care to your community.

[00:33:36] Hopefully we've been able to, um, instill a level of respect and humility for these caregivers that are really going above and beyond for care. And, hopefully, this has sort of instilled a passion in the dementia space for you, whether you're a researcher or somebody who's interested in tech, public health enthusiast, um, there's ways to support this community through Memoryz. 

[00:33:55] Sure. Other ways as well, there's numerous wonderful organizations that are doing great things. [00:34:00] Um, and I think it's a real responsibility, a global responsibility for people to support, um, dementia care. 

[00:34:06] Leshawn: Yep. Thanks for that. How about you, Praja? Any last words?

[00:34:09] Praja: I just want to say thank you. Um, it's been such an amazing experience.

[00:34:13] It's my first time on a podcast, and I appreciate everything that you guys are doing in terms of creating awareness, as well as, um, allowing people who are not in the field to understand. So understanding lay terms, essentially all of these issues that are experienced by people just in the general public.

[00:34:31] So I'm very grateful to be a part of this. And I'm super excited to actually listen to myself, talk in this episode. 

[00:34:37] Rishawn: Thank you for coming on. It was great having you all. 

[00:34:39] Gordon: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks guys. 

[00:34:41] Rishawn: Thank you all. 

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