Rithvik Ganesh from Plano West High and Vedant Tapiavala from Dallas ISD’s School for the Gifted and Talented have begun combating Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The two high school seniors have created the app AlzBuddy, which they hope will help older patients recollect long-lost memories.
WFAA interviewed the two teens on their journey in creating AlzBuddy. Ganesh and Tapiavala had been friends since youth and knew early into their teenage years that they wanted to make a difference with senior citizens.
Tapiavala said, “I believe everybody has that duty to contribute to society… at what age depends on the person.” Both of the developers served in senior citizen centers and saw that they had the opportunity to make an impact, WFAA writes.
The app works by playing sounds or visuals that connect seniors to their past, such as classical music from the ’40s or ’50s.
“There’s a lot of benefits to reminiscing just for seniors in general, but especially those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. It helps them form connections to the past, which helps their cognitive abilities and just helps them remember who they are and remember their identity,” says Ganesh about the app.
According to CBS D-FW, it took the students three years to develop AlzBuddy.
The teen developers utilized advertisements and pictures of sports players or movie stars to activate a patient’s memory. They hope that will allow more memories to flood in along with the association of that single item. Ganesh and Tapiavala created the app with feedback from medical professionals and nursing homes.
Tapivala stated, “In one nursing home in Corpus Christi, they mentioned the seniors were singing along to the songs and discussing.”
AlzBuddy can be downloaded on the Apple App Store. It has already been downloaded in 12 different countries.