Kupuna Life: This doctor helps those with dementia, Alzheimer’s with an app

Kupuna Life

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Doctor Warren Wong retired five years ago, but he’s just getting started with a new venture.

He worked at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii for more than 30 years and founded its geriatrics program with an edict to make sure you take care of older people with dignity.

“I just love geriatrics,” said Dr. Wong of MemorC. “It’s about not just taking care of disease, but it’s about taking care of people.”

And he’s still doing so through an app. Dr. Wong created the MemorC app, with an emphasis on memories and connections.

“My dream is that people with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease can live dignified lives in which they still feel valued, connected, and still have a lot of fun.”

But this is just part of the app, short videos to remind those with dementia or Alzheimer’s of events in their life.

There are games to stimulate the mind, which Dr. Wong says can make a big difference even though there is no cure for the disease.

“The app is designed to recognize the abilities of the person with Alzheimer’s disease so it gets a little bit harder if the person is doing it, figuring everything out very easily, and also gets a little bit easier if the answers are hard, but what it does is it exercises the brain,” Dr. Wong said.

MemorC is personalized, reinforcing memories and connections with friends, loved ones who can send and receive photos, reminding those with dementia and Alzheimer’s that they’re loved, relevant, important — helping prevent loneliness, frustration, sadness, loss of a sense of self.

“Another part that I’m really excited about is allowing people with dementia to do the same things we do every day, so we get text messages, we get photos.”

There’s also a section on emotions.

“We have one piece which is about emotional validation in which we ask a person if they’re feeling happy or sad, and the most important thing is to let that person know we’re with them no matter what their emotion is.”

Dr. Wong aims to help caregivers as well with tips on caregiving, ideas for daily projects, and how to manage certain behaviors.

“Because we can’t take away the disease we can’t take away, the fact that the disease is progressive but let’s do what we can do and let’s support the caregivers who are in the center of their lives of those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

The MemorC app launched in 2019. It’s available on Apple products through the Apple App Store. The first two weeks are free then it’s a mere 99 cents per month.

For more information go to Dr. Wong’s website.


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