Author: Mary Ellen Mullholand, President – Eperture

Over the years of working at a nursing care facility, I often heard this question from distraught family members. They spoke in quiet voices and told the story of mom who became like a ghost of the person that had cared for them their whole life and then there was this new person that looked different, acted different and just was not “their” mom.

Dementia and its symptoms often are hidden or ignored by family. This reaction inhibits families from reaching out for advice and support and often leaves the nominated caregiver with feelings of guilt and placing blame on those with dementia like it was their fault. I often heard families cry with the summary statement: “then there is the feeling of relief when the senior is placed in care”. There is no graceful way through it as it is a very complicated illness and the fallout to the entire family network is earth-shattering!

As the company that developed RememberStuff™, we are hoping that those experiencing dementia and those who are facing the elder years  with no signs of dementia but thinking about what they can do to slow or stop memory loss, take the opportunity to use this software to record their wishes about their care should they find that one day you cannot take care of yourself. RememberStuff can hold many a set of daily activities that you enjoy and help you recall how to participate or lists of directions for family if your memory is no longer strong. Think of RememberStuff as the device to help you stay engaged and to help those who will need to make the weighty decisions for your care.

Finally, families should embrace the person who is in their care as they are and to do so in the moment not the memory of the past. You will find joy and a treasure chest of in-the-moment experiences. Soon you will erase the ghost of who your loved one was and ask, “who are you now?” Review our website and learn more about RememberStuff™ (rememberstuff.com) and learn to navigate through the changes caused by dementia.

Author: Mary Ellen Mullholand, President – Eperture

Today, at a business meeting a colleague seemed sad and not engaged in the discussion at hand. I asked him “what is the problem?” He responded “I made a call to my first business mentor and colleague of 35 years last evening and at age 72, he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease! The worst part of the call was it took me 5-10 minutes to help him remember who I was!” How many of us over 65 years old have seen our family members, friends and work associates fall into this category? Have you asked yourself, “I am 70 years old, is this going to happen to me?”

An estimated 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and one in ten people age 65 show symptoms of Alzheimer’s. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses so does the level of dependency on others. Higher levels of dependence in people with Alzheimer’s Disease are associated with significantly increased costs of informal care as the disease progresses. As the older adult with Alzheimer’s loses the ability to make sound decisions, external interventions become increasingly important, leaving families to fill the gap, mainly through increased supervision and direct care.Today, 41 percent of care support provided to older adults with Alzheimer’s disease is provided by family members, friends or other unpaid informal and often untrained caregivers. Is there something the individual can go to prepare if this disease is in your future?

Working on the design and introduction of RememberStuff™ since 2016 has me convinced that the aging American public needs to take seriously and with urgency that the numbers of persons experiencing Alzheimer’s is rapidly increasing but no one can predict who will experience the devastation of dementia to one’s normal life. However, there are ways to organize your world to keep your memories and life’s details at your finger- tips for reference and provide a sense of security that you can safely manage daily decisions.

RememberStuff™ was designed to store the details of “your” daily living and the ability with the press of the screen to bring those large or small details to your review as you need them. You can store your financial details, your services resources details such as insurance, banking, investment, electric/gas, water, doctor and dentist etc. and your medical info on doctor, dentist, current and past medications, immunizations and medical history. The list of details is endless and up to you to build those details to follow and support your day.

The Calendar allows you to record important dates such as anniversary and birthdays with daily appointments along with details of how to get to the appointments and alerts to take current medications at times prescribed by your physician. The calendar can keep you in the real time of today’s happenings, so you do not miss an important “to-do”.

An important link to memory is the ability to create and share video messaging with family and friends. The address book link allows you to see photos of family members and then automatically enters the email address to the video message when that photo is selected. This ability to record and replay messages is the link to family 24/7 even if that family is many miles away or just across town.

RememberStuff™ is a collection of your life’s details available at your finger-tips to assist you stay current and engaged in the world around you. RememberStuff™ can help you remember even if the day is blurry.

By Mary Ellen Mullholand, President Eperture LLC

My great grandchildren received a RememberStuff unit last night.   Their reactions were adorable.  We look forward to enjoying video clips and creating education quizzes that they will enjoy for many years.  After that, their parents probably will continue with the system in order to keep track of crazy schedules and capturing memories.

 

 

Dementia is heart-breaking and scary and volatile. My sweet, little mom just passed November 30, 2018. She had dementia for 10 years. During her battle with the disease, my heart went out to her as she tried so hard to do things on her own. Sometimes, especially toward the end, she would look into my eyes with her innocent blue eyes and ask “Where’s my mind? I just can’t think.” I look back now at our journey together and my personal determination to apply my skills and resources to help the individuals with the disease and their family members.

What my colleagues and I created was a super secure, dedicated system to help my mom, and individuals in her situation, do things on their own—we wanted to support their dignity and their drive to stay autonomous. We also wanted to help the entire family support my mom and handle the many challenges facing all of us on this journey. The first prototype was a large touchscreen computer that my mom “could help us test.”  She absolutely rose to the occasion. Our goal was to have the system function more as a kiosk than a computer and have it be so simple to use that it required no training. We originally named the product “The Daily Do” because it had a highly informative calendar that would have pop-up reminders and helpful information such as how to find the doctor’s office with pictures of the office and any helpful landmarks. But it was more than a calendar – it captured memories through easy-to-create video clips that we would send back and forth to each. My mom loved the system, and it probably allowed her to stay in her house several years longer than she would have without it.

The disease finally took over not only her mind but her body as well. She is now a little angel. Our time together was special. She was part of the evolution of our product, and she sits on my shoulder as we work to add features and get the word out to others. We ended up calling the product simply “RememberStuff.”