Mobile app for dementia membership programme
CARA provides a safe return function, curated care solutions, resources and lifestyle rewards for those with dementia and caregivers in Singapore.
Dementia Singapore has launched a dementia membership programme that provides solutions and personalised support across the journey of living with and caring for dementia. It is said to be the first dementia membership programme of its kind in the world.
Called CARA (an acronym for Community, Assurance, Rewards, Acceptance – the four main functions of the membership programme), the mobile application is a digital lifestyle and community platform that is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Download is free.
Prior to CARA, caregivers of persons with dementia could apply for the Safe Return Card, initiated by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) in 2008, as a form of identification for their loved ones with dementia and some assurance of safe return. With CARA, the Safe Return Card initiative by the NCSS will be decommissioned.
The key features of the CARA mobile application include:
- Safe return – CARA serves as a unique identifier for persons with dementia, providing assurance that members can continue to move freely and independently within a safe community, giving caregivers greater peace of mind.
- Connected care circle – With CARA, multiple family members in the care circle can link their CARA accounts to their loved ones living with dementia and receive Safe Return notifications.
- Tailored rewards – CARA members can enjoy benefits suited to their care journey such as discounts and priority privileges from carefully selected partners.
- Ecosystem of solutions – Members can access a curated list of solution providers relevant to their needs. They can navigate options at their fingertips and tap on the community platform for further support and resources throughout their dementia journey.
Singapore residents who are living with dementia or are caregivers of a person living with dementia are eligible for the full CARA membership. Members of the public who want to support the dementia community can also join the membership programme, albeit with limited access to certain CARA features.
Dementia Singapore CEO Jason Foo added: “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.”
CARA’s safe return function is developed in collaboration with NCSS to provide continued assurance to caregivers. Building upon the original Safe Return Card initiative that was developed by NCSS in 2008, CARA takes into consideration the feedback provided by users over the years to provide more comprehensive support and greater access to resources.
Through CARA, when a person with dementia gets lost or wanders from his or her home or family members, members of the public who find him or her can scan the QR code on the CARA membership card and submit a report. The CARA app will then notify all the caregivers tagged to the person that he or she has been found.
In addition, there is also a call function for members of the public to call the caregiver directly, thus facilitating the safe return of their loved one with dementia.
The safe return function of CARA hopes to provide independence to persons living with dementia while giving peace of mind to their caregivers. In addition, to not overly rely on just one caregiver, the care circle allows for multiple caregivers to be contacted in times of need, alleviating the pressure on the primary caregiver.
CARA members can also access specially curated dementia care solutions, lifestyle benefits and resources on the platform. CARA also incorporates Dementia Singapore’s one-stop dementia resource portal, DementiaHub.SG in the app.
Steven Lau, 65, who is living with young onset dementia, appreciates CARA for enabling him to navigate independently and is thankful for the support from the partners. “I like CARA as it is a way for me to seek help should I get lost and need support from members of the public. I also appreciate the understanding and support that the benefit and solution partners have given us through free or discounted activities. It really encourages those with dementia to be physically and mentally active.”
Caregivers, like Kimhong Hazra, who is caring for her father with dementia, joined CARA because they identify with what the holistic platform has to offer. “Other than the safe return function, I also agree with the other objectives of CARA – one of which is to build a dementia-inclusive community,” she said.
Future development of the CARA app includes a membership tier for professional caregivers, as well as a function to notify members of the public to look out for persons living with dementia who have been reported lost.
** To sign up for CARA membership, here are the steps – https://cara.sg/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/CARA-signup-InstructionsManual-Version-3.1_171121.pdf. You can also view the video guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fS09z9_UxI.
(** PHOTO CREDIT: Dementia Singapore)