The Agency of Integrated Care (AIC) has announced that the Dementia Friends App will be decommissioned from 31 December 2022. The Dementia Friends app was developed to empower caregivers with the knowledge, resources and support they need to better care for their loved ones living with dementia. The app also served as a platform for caregivers to alert the community, including members of public who have signed up as Dementia Friends, in the event that their loved one goes missing.
However, while the Dementia Friends app will cease operating at the end of the year, you can continue to play a part in supporting persons living with dementia with the CARA mobile app.
Dementia Friends App Transitions to CARA
As part of the Dementia-Friendly Movement, the Dementia Friends app will transition to CARA – a newly developed mobile app developed by Dementia Singapore, with support from the Agency of Integrated Care (AIC) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS).
In 2021, CARA – which is an acronym for Community, Assurance, Rewards and Acceptance, was birthed as a lifestyle and community digital platform providing easy access for persons living with dementia and caregivers to connect to an ecosystem of solutions. Positioned as the nation’s first dementia membership programme, the application offered persons living with dementia and their caregivers a suite of carefully curated list of benefits and solutions to navigate their dementia journey. Another key feature of CARA was the digital Safe Return function offering members living with dementia a physical card with a unique QR code for members of public to connect with caregivers in incidences where they were found in the community.
Riding off this Caregiver support solution, CARA expanded to incorporate Dementia Hub as the go-to resource portal for caregivers who are in need of practical tips and key information to better understand their loved one’s condition. CARA also serves as a platform for caregivers to electronically broadcast for help within the CARA community and social media channels when their loved ones go missing.
Click buttons to download the CARA mobile app:
“With CARA, we aim to provide the best community care platform for persons living with dementia and their caregivers, now and into the future. What sets CARA apart from any dementia membership programmes in the world is the utilisation of technology to facilitate the safe return of a person living with dementia swiftly back to his or her family when things go wrong.”
– Mr Jason Foo, CEO of Dementia Singapore
In the year ahead, CARA will include nostalgia-focused enhancements to enable reminiscence in their dementia care. Two key features are in the pipeline: A nostalgia-focused music streaming feature, and a digital memory album to record positive personal stories of persons living with dementia.
Dementia Friends – Why You Are Important
Despite the changes in their cognitive abilities, many persons living with dementia still desire to go out of their homes to keep themselves meaningfully occupied. A person living with dementia may decide to take a walk in their neighbourhood or visit a loved one’s house but may not remember where they had intended to go. Additionally, persons living with dementia often have trouble with orientation, which means that may not be able to make their way home because their surrounding environment looks and feels unfamiliar to them.
It is an emotionally-draining and worrying experience for caregivers when they find their loved ones living with dementia missing. It is recommended to thoroughly search around the vicinity of the home and commonly frequented places. However, this may be a challenge for primary caregivers who are seniors, and for caregivers from smaller family units who have to look for their missing loved one themselves whilst juggling other caregiving responsibilities.
As such, the community and network of Dementia Friends play an enormously critical role in helping caregivers in their time of crisis, especially with expanding the reach of the search. Caregivers are able to activate this network and seek out help to search for their loved one living with dementia who is away from home for an unusually long time.
How You Can Continue to Play a Part with CARA
CARA Sign Up Guide:
This video offers a step-by-step guide on how to register for a CARA account on the CARA SG mobile app as a caregiver, person living with dementia or member of the public.
You can continue to play a part as a Dementia Friend to support persons living with dementia who are lost in your community and learn more about dementia by downloading the CARA mobile app. Join in on the #DementiaFriendlySG Movement as we strive to build a Dementia-Friendly Singapore together.