CareUmbrella register as UK company and feature in ‘Life Hacks for 2015’
Since visiting Cardiff to attend the UK HealthTech Conference in December 2014, our friends over at CareUmbrella Ltd, who originated in Canada, have been registered as a UK company.
Recently, CareUmbrella have been making good collaborations with MediWales members, have been invited to the second round of an InnovateUK competition, and hope to generate the funding to be able to locate to Wales.
The team are in the process of setting up user group studies and talking with research collaborators, whilst looking for sources of funding in order to be able to provide the development and device support for the research and validation studies.
CareUmbrella have also been selected as one of the ‘Life Hacks for 2015’ by a national newspaper in Canada. Their dedicated content it as follows:
‘Tag a microwave, treat dementia: It’s not the kind of “life hack” most geeks or hipsters usually get excited about. But as even MacGyver enters his silver years (Richard Dean Anderson will be 64 this month) and with an estimated 1.4 million Canadians facing Alzheimers by 2040, an app for people suffering from dementia is a hot life hack idea indeed.
The leading contender is CareUmbrella, a web-based app lets users create electronic tags for stuff around the house — your microwave, your vacation photo on the mantle, your medicine. When you tap the tags you activate audio or video recordings explaining how they work or the story behind them — made online by family members or a caregiver. (No Siri giving you a lecture.)
The app was developed at a 24-hour “hackathon” last fall hosted simultaneously in Canada and the United Kingdom. Eighteen teams were challenged to come up with hardware and software prototypes that could help people with dementia. In particular, to help them live with dignity, stay independent longer and take stress off their caregivers. The winner was Dr. Hayman Buwan, a Toronto specialist in geriatric rehabilitation, for CareUmbrella — which will launch pilot studies this year.
One his testers will be Brenda Hounam of Paris, Ont. Only 68, she was diagnosed early for dementia. And she sees great potential in technology to help her “self manage.” She already uses her iPad for games to keep her mind active, and an alarm to signal when she needs to take her daily medications.
Dr. Eva Svoboda, a clinical neuropsychologist at Baycrest Health Sciences’ MemoryLink program, says any chance for early detection and treatment of dementia is especially important. “If you have habits early it shelters you,” she says. “You can create an ‘artificial memory’ that traps information about dates, times and locations.”
Now CareUmbrella needs to get the word out to tech-savvy people that can use the app (or help others set it up). We nominate Seth Rogen. The Canadian actor was spurred by his experience with his mother-in-law, who had severe Alzheimer’s by age 60, to testify at a U.S. Senate hearing on research last year.
“The situation is so dire, that it caused me, a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man-child, to start an entire charity organization,” he joked. Rachel Greenspan’