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Calming Dementia one Music Note a Time

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

3 back women sitting next to each other laughing

Did you know that around the world, individuals are diagnosed with dementia every 3 seconds? Reading this, I know what comes to your mind: “Only older individuals over the age of 65 are affected by this condition” right? Well, you’d be surprised to discover that dementia can also affect people of younger age groups, especially teenagers.

Dementia within teenagers sounds like a foreign thought, but it’s not as far-fetched as you think. According to the MedicineNet website, 68% of young-onset dementia cases stem from various risk factors, including drug abuse, depression, and poor mental functionality in young people, just to name a few. As time passes, dementia is becoming increasingly prevalent in younger age-groups.

Luckily, there is a solution to calming the effects of dementia. Recent developments reveal how listening to music can positively affect young teenagers suffering from early-onset dementia. And three inspiring Black girls are making waves in addressing dementia, by focusing on music!

Memory Haven – A Life-Changing App

Meet the three Nigerian-Irish teenagers who are working diligently to help fight dementia through music! Rachel, Margaret, and Joy came up with a brilliant idea to help young people living with dementia. During the COVID-19 lockdown, they came together to think of possible ways to better support individuals living with dementia. They ultimately decided to design and construct a coding memory app they named Memory Haven, which uses music to calm and comfort younger individuals living with the life-changing condition.

The app features six special features: health check, a photo wallet, a music playlist, reminder alerts, a reach out feature, and a mini game that allows users to strengthen their cognitive ability in a fun and energetic way.

While developing and creating the app, these young ladies only had one goal in mind: to assist as many individuals as possible, and in doing so, ensure that their app is globally acknowledged in the medical and technology industries. They wanted to assist and support the millions of people suffering with dementia, by improving their living circumstances during these trying and uncertain times.

For Rachel, Margaret, and Joy, dementia is a topic that hits close to home - their mentor’s mother unfortunately passed away after suffering from the condition. In light of this, they were driven to focus on this area, supporting others living with the condition, and their families.

Of course, like all new challenges, the girls faced major obstacles along the way. For instance, they had to get familiar with the tricker aspects of coding in order to get the application to operate effectively. Plus, let’s not forget they were separated during the whole process due to COVID, so their only means of communication with each other was through WhatsApp. Despite the challenges, the overall success that these three achieved, will undoubtedly motivate more women and young girls of color to get involved in STEM research. Girls of color have the potential to find the solutions to the social problems in their communities, and encouraging stories like this help to foster that hope and ambition.

Memory Haven has become an award-winning application, with stellar reviews from its users. The girls were awarded the top prize at the prestigious technology competition, Technovation Girls, an international competition that challenges young women to develop an app that can solve a specific problem within their communities. The girls defeated more than 1,500 other exciting entries worldwide, to win the top prize. An amazing achievement for teens of their age.

The main focus for the Memory Haven app - even without knowing or understanding the tremendous amount of success that would come from it - was to assist as many individuals and families affected by dementia as possible, not just in Ireland but around the world.

Rachel, Margaret and Joy brought their vision for the app to life through their extraordinary efforts. They show all women of color what is possible when we identify the problems affecting our communities, and put our power and energy into the solutions.

We cannot wait to see what new innovations young girls of color will be inspired to implement in the near future!

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