McCann Worldgroup in Europe has partnered with Alzheimer’s Society to launch My Carer, a new skill on Alexa aimed at improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in the UK.
With dementia set to affect 50 million people globally by 2020, the cost of dementia care currently resides at $818bn/£627bn but is likely to increase. McCann developed My Carer with digital studio Skilled which specialises in voice assistance, to help restore independence to people living with early-stage dementia.
By tuning into their daily routine, the app Alexa skill reminds them what to do and gives them step-by-step guidance through their daily tasks – from taking their medication, preparing lunch and remember birthdays; the skill connects them with the world around them.
“Voice has been tipped to be next interface for some time. Despite having a significant install-base - a quarter of US households and 20% in UK - we are yet to see much brand-driven activity with voice," said Jon Carney, CDO Europe of McCann Worldgroup. "Using voice to help people at home in their daily lives represents a real sea-change. We’re already seeing the comfort and convenience across generations that people get from in-home voice devices and we’re only in year three of this technology being available to the consumer."
McCann digital director Europe, Michael Cooper, added: “We envisaged My Carer as the first step towards voice-based home healthcare for people living with dementia and so will make the skill available for free on the Alexa Skill store. We have designed the entire process to be extremely simple: through the MyCarer.app website, the person living with early-stage dementia or their carer can customize a daily routine with instructions step by step. My Carer helps users to complete tasks such as preparing meals and getting ready for appointments. At the time scheduled, Alexa sends a voice notification to let the patient know there’s a new task to do."
My Carer also acts as a research tool by securely capturing data as it's being used. This then allows researchers to explore whether there any patterns in the behaviour of dementia patients and should hopefully provide them with more information to can predict the progression of dementia symptoms.