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People with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from memory loss, thinking, and behavioral problems. This might lead to the inability to recognize people – even the most important ones in their lives, like parents, children, husbands, or wives. We now give people with Alzheimer’s the opportunity of reconnecting with them independently with the aid of self-describing pictures.

  1. Understanding Alzheimer’s disease
  2. What are the Tactile Images self-describing pictures?
  3. Benefits of self-describing pictures

a) The opportunity to remember
b) Enhanced self-esteem and wellbeing

4. How can you create a custom self-describing picture?
a) Join the EDITOR
b) Upload your picture
c) Add the QR Code
d) Add areas of interest and text
e) Download the READER app

1. Understanding Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Causing memory loss and behavioral problems, it comes to interfere with the everyday lives of people. One of the first symptoms of the disease is the inability to remember newly gained information. This happens because the disease affects the part of the brain dealing with learning.

Confusion about time, space, or events is another Alzheimer’s symptom. As time passes, it gets harder and harder for a person with the disease to recognize people around, know the time, and acknowledge where they are. They need a person to watch over them always.

2. What are the Tactile Images self-describing pictures?

Self-describing pictures have the purpose of helping people with Alzheimer’s reconnect with loved ones, old places, or memories. Typically, watching the image of a person we know or a place we visited instantly accesses our memory of that particular person or place. But for a person with Alzheimer’s, a picture of his daughter can mean nothing more than a picture of a young blonde girl. For it to gain specific meaning, the person needs someone else to make access to memory for themselves by specifying who the girl in the picture is.

Self-describing pictures make use of modern technologies such as Interactive Augmented Reality and indicate vocally to people with Alzheimer’s about the content in the picture, just like another human being would do.

You can turn any photo into a self-describing picture. The photo does not have to be a specific quality. You can take it with your smartphone and upload it into the database of our EDITOR. We will tell you more about how you can do that shortly.

3. Benefits of self-describing pictures

a) The opportunity to remember independently

Self-describing pictures replace the person near the one with Alzheimer’s, the one who has to give indications about what the picture is depicting. With just the image of the whole family and the companion app READER, designed especially for reading pictures, a person with Alzheimer’s can remember the faces of his/her parents, daughters, brothers, aunts or nieces independently. Because he/she does not depend anymore on another person, someone with Alzheimer’s can explore pictures of dear ones for as long as he/she wants and remember at his/her own pace.

 

b) Enhanced self-esteem and wellbeing

Any achievement can make a person feel better about himself/herself. And in the case of people with Alzheimer’s, recognizing one’s daughter in a five years old picture can work wonders. Suddenly acknowledging the existence of a person you love and feeling that person close to you helps build self-esteem and also wellbeing, especially for someone who lives without any connections to other people or the world around.

4. How can you create a custom self-describing picture?

a) Join the EDITOR

To be able to create your self-describing picture, you have to access the Tactile Images platform and send a request to join the EDITOR. You can require free access right here.

 

b) Upload your picture

Once you logged in, you can start creating. First, browse through your computer or phone, choose the picture you want to customize and upload it.

 

c) Add the QR Code

For it to be read by the mobile app READER, the picture must have a QR Code attached. You can create the unique code here and add it to your picture.

 

d) Add areas of interest and text

Adding areas of interest is simple. You do it by dragging the mouse. Every person in a family portrait should be correlated with an area of interest. Then, you must add text to each area of interest, which will be transmitted to the person with Alzheimer’s vocally. Print it, and you are almost ready to go!

 

e) Download the READER app

You need the READER app for the family portrait to self-describe. You can download it from the App Store free of charge. Now place the phone above the printed family portrait and let the person with Alzheimer’s rediscover the people in his/her family.

The READER app is now in the Alpha stage and only available for iPhones. We need your help to improve the app and make it available for Android as well. Please download it, test it, and also donate if you want to help us achieve our dream of helping as many people as possible.

Do you have any questions about how self-describing pictures help people with Alzheimer’s reconnect with loved ones? Write in the comment section below!

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