12:48 PM

Mohawk College grad creates app to help families dealing with dementia

Mohawk College Recreation and Leisure Services graduate Alexis Liddell has created a mobile app to help families better connect with loved ones who have dementia.

An app for the iPad, Promenade uses high-resolution photos and conversation-based questions to help people with dementia and related conditions reminisce about life events and experiences. Alexis created the app with her brother Chris Benoit, a software developer from Burlington.

“When visiting a loved one with dementia, communication can be a real challenge," says Alexis. "Visitors often leave feeling sad and burnt out. I had an idea for how to improve these visits, and just needed the technical expertise to make it happen. It can be frustrating for both parties when communication is a struggle but it’s gratifying to see how having a tool like Promenade can turn a difficult experience into an enjoyable one.”

Joanne Brohman, academic coordinator and faculty member in the Recreation and Leisure Services program at Mohawk College, says Promenade is a welcomed resource in the field of Recreation Therapy. “It’s an excellent educational tool to teach the facilitation technique of reminiscing."

The app was launched earlier this year and is already garnering attention within the therapeutic recreation community. Alexis will travel to Banff this spring to showcase Promenade at the annual conference for the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association.

Promenade is available for download via the Apple App Store and is compatible with iPads running iOS7.