Alma company and UAMS receive $177,000 to develop app helping those with dementia

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 122 views 

An Alma research and development company and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) received a $177,007 grant to create a training app for caregivers of those with dementia, according to a news release.

National Institute on Aging awarded the grant InvoTek Inc. of Alma and UAMS. InvoTek engineers will develop the app, and UAMS healthcare staff will examine its use with Arkansans.

“Alzheimer’s affects approximately 54,000 Arkansans and over 5 million people nationwide,” Pao-Feng Tsai, the Alice An-Loh Sun endowed professor in geriatric nursing at UAMS, said in the release. “This app may help thousands of elders with dementia stay in their homes longer, extend their quality of life and postponing the move to expensive long-term care facilities.”

The Android app will include a video simulator showing caregivers how to help elderly people complete “activities such as dressing, bathing, and grooming as independently as possible,” the release shows.

“We used an early prototype of the simulator to train nursing home caregivers, and we saw very encouraging improvements in their residents’ ability to perform activities such as dressing themselves,” InvoTek President Tom Jakobs, said in the release.

The cost of the app depends on several factors such as if it were to be licensed by a healthcare company, but Jakobs expects its cost would be “in the $25 range.”

While the first phase of the app will be for Android devices, he doesn’t see why the app wouldn’t be expanded to allow for iOS use after the first phase is completed.

InvoTek was notified of the grant award in late August or early September, Jakobs said. Work on the app started in October, and its development is expected to be completed in summer 2017.

Since the company was established in 1988, it has received more than $6 million in federal research grants. The company specializes in developing and using technology to help people with disabilities.

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