Four postgraduate students from Glasgow have won £6k in funding to launch an interactive app that can improve the mental and physical wellbeing of those living with dementia and their carers.
The students used a number of leading research studies to create the app, MindMate, which found brain training, the right nutrition and physical exercise can slow memory loss and enhance the lives of dementia patients. MindMate has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible for older people.
Patrick Renner, Rogelio Arellano, Susanne Mitschke and Gabriela Matic worked in consultation with the University of Glasgow Geriatric Medicine Department to create the app. Each section of the software has been developed through collaboration with medical advisors.
The students have also formed a partnership with The Alliance, an organisation that supports people living with dementia and their carers. This has allowed them connect their research with real-life case studies to help them develop the app.
MindMate combines a number of techniques including brain games, physical exercises, reminders and nutrition advice. The technology is undergoing preparations for a public launch with a closed Beta version currently being tested by 40 volunteers affected by dementia and their carers.
MindMate was recently announced as one of the 38 winners of the Young Innovators Challenge, an entrepreneurial competition which rewards students who have business ideas with a positive social impact. The Young Innovators Challenge is run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise through the Scottish Funding Council, on behalf of the Scottish Government and is part of the Scotland CAN DO approach. The team received £6,000 funding which will help them launch the app to the public.
Patrick, Susanne and Gabriela are currently completing MSc degrees in Finance and Management and International Management & Leadership at the University of Glasgow. Rogelio is completing an MSc in Global Innovation Management the University of Strathclyde.
Patrick Renner said: “There are currently 44 million people worldwide suffering from dementia. In the UK alone there are 850,000 sufferers, of which 90,000 are living in Scotland. In the next ten years, these numbers are expected to increase by 50%. Moreover, dementia costs the UK more than £26 billion per year.
“Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia yet. People today are living longer, which increases the risk of suffering from the disease later in life. We want MindMate to have a positive impact on users’ wellbeing both in the short-term and long-term. You can still have a fulfilling life with dementia.”
Fiona Godsman, chief executive of competition organisers. Scottish Institute for Enterprise, said:
“MindMate is an excellent example of a business tackling a problem that can be felt on both a local and international scale. Most families have been impacted in some way by dementia and this technology will make life easier, not only for those who have the illness, but for the people who care about them too. We will continue to provide business advice to the entrepreneurs behind MindMate to help them bring it to the public.”