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New Alexa Skill “My Carer” to help people living with dementia stay independent, supported by Alzheimer’s Society

15 May 2019 16:13pm

First version live in UK: further enhanced versions in beta testing with people living with the disease.

Alzheimer’s Society, McCann Worldgroup in Europe, and MRM//McCann Frankfurt are launching My Carer, an Alexa Skill, created to help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in the UK. Globally dementia is expected to affect 50 million people by 2020. The cost of caring for dementia currently is $818 billion/£627billion. McCann developed the skill together with Skilled.app, a digital studio dedicated to the development of voice assistant skills.

My Carer helps people living with early stage dementia to follow their daily routine and retain their independence. Its function not only reminds them what to do, but also guides them step by step, through their daily tasks – how to take the medication, how to prepare their lunch, helping them to remember birthdays, or names of their loved one.

“Voice has been tipped to be next interface for some time. Despite having a significant instal-base - a quarter of US households and 20% in UK - we are yet to see much brand-driven activity with Voice. 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 3 of this technology being available to the consumer,” said Jon Carney, CDO Europe, McCann Worldgroup.

“Dementia affects the whole family, as loved ones juggle caring demands and worry about the safety of their relatives at home. My Carer has enormous potential to help, enabling family members to provide personalised, remote support when they can’t be there in person. We’re excited to see this cutting edge technology being applied to dementia and now launched for further testing. The launch last month of our UK Dementia Research Institute Care and Technology centre is another example alongside the ‘My Carer’ app that shows it’s dementia’s moment to benefit from the latest developments in AI, smartphone technology and social robotics. These technologies have great potential to help people with dementia live where they want to be - at home – for as long as possible,”commented Colin Capper, the Head of Research Development and Evaluation at Alzheimer’s Society

“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. “ stated Michael Cooper, Digital Director Europe, McCann Worldgroup.

He continued, “When using an Echo device with a screen, the user can even add images of items and locations to make the steps even clearer. The skill supports the person with interactive guidance and verifies that each step has been followed until the task is completed. If a patient doesn’t reply to the skill, a notification will be sent to a relative or carer.”

My Carer can also works as a research tool by securely collecting data as people with dementia go about their daily lives. Researchers are exploring how patterns of behaviour revealed in data can predict the progression of dementia symptoms.

Combining this data with machine learning will enable My Carer to progressively tailor the support offered according to the needs of each individual and their carer.

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Notes to editors:

*Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia friendly media and broadcast guide is a toolkit to help those in the media industry portray dementia accurately. More information can be found at: alzheimers.org.uk/about-us/news-and-media/dementia-friendly-media-guideAlzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.Dementia devastates lives. Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. By 2021, 1 million people will be living with the condition. This will soar to two million by 2051.Dementia deaths are rising year on year and 225,000 will develop dementia this year - that’s one every three minutes.Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia. Alzheimer’s Society funds research into the cause, care, cure and prevention of all types of dementia and has committed to spend at least £150 million on research over the next decade. This includes a £50 million investment in theUK's first dedicated Dementia Research Institute.Until the day we find a cure, Alzheimer's Society will be here for anyone affected by dementia - wherever they are, whatever they're going through. Everything we do is informed and inspired by them.Let's take on dementia together. Volunteer. Donate. Campaign for change. Whatever you do, unite with us against dementia. Alzheimer’s Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate nowby calling0330 333 0804orvisitingalzheimers.org.uk. Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.ukFollow us on Twitter and Instagram @AlzheimerssocLike us on FacebookAlzheimer’s Society YouTube channel www.youtube.com/AlzheimersSociety

About McCann Worldgroup
McCann Worldgroup, part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), is a leading global marketing solutions network united across 100+ countries by a single vision: To help brands play a meaningful role in people’s lives. Ranked as the world's most creatively effective marketing services company, the global network comprises McCann (advertising), MRM//McCann (data science/technology/relationship marketing), Momentum Worldwide (total brand experience), McCann Health (professional/dtc communications), CRAFT (production), PMK-BNC (entertainment/popular culture), Weber Shandwick (public relations) and FutureBrand (consulting/design).

Media contacts:

· Alzheimer’s Society Press Office: 0207 423 3595 Email: press@alzheimers.org.uk

· McCann Worldgroup: Carmen.Bistrian@mccann.com or Jessica.Bayat@mccann.com

My Carer Credits:

Adrian Botan, Global ECD, Europe, McCann Worldgroup

Jon Carney, Chief Digital Officer, Europe, McCann Worldgroup

Roy Cohen, CD, Europe, McCann Worldgroup

Mike Cooper, Digital Director, Europe, McCann Worldgroup

Hetu Negri, Senior Copywriter, Europe, McCann Worldgroup

Juan Peirano, Senior AD, Europe, McCann Worldgroup

Cedrine Streit, Digital Strategist, Europe, McCann Worldgroup

Gorgie Rechner, Business Director, McCann London

Mel Caplan, Account Manager, McCann London

Arend Koopmans, Lead developer, Skilled

Hasher Marouf, Lead UX design, Skilled

Michael Malinsky, Lead Architecture, Skilled

Jetse Koopman, Lead developer, Skilled

Sebastian Hardieck –CCO Germany, McCann Worldgroup

Martin Biela – ECD, MRM//McCann Frankfurt

Mark Hollering – Director Creative Technology, MRM//McCann - Frankfurt

Sebastian Klein – Project Manager, MRM//McCann – Frankfurt

Tags

alexa
Alzheimer’s Society
McCann Worldgroup
MRM//McCann