Allowing for easier, and better-quality communications between the elderly and their loved one, especially those with dementia, has led two UNSW Canberra students to develop a new communication tool; NewAge Care.

One of the brains behind the idea, Jack Gadsby, said that the idea came about when he and another student, Brayden Munro, were working out what to submit to the UNSW Peter Farrell Cup and both discovered they had been impacted by an elderly loved one who suffered from dementia.

“Initially, the concept evolved from a conversation I had with my father, as my Nana fought with Alzheimer’s disease. When Jack and I discovered how we both struggled to communicate with our loved one in their final years, it led us to thinking what if we could make a communication channel accessible to those with dementia and we went from there," Brayden said.

Jack said that after some research the two found that currently there is not a video-chat application tailored for use by those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia.

“From there, using medical research papers we developed a Graphics User Interface that was accessible to people with those conditions. Following user testing and market validation, we were able to prove its effectiveness in communication enabling,” he said.

Describing NewAge Care as just like any other video chat application, Brayden said the program they have developed works on a peer 2 peer encrypted basis, allowing for fast secure connections.

“We have also researched implementation of AI based algorithms that monitor elderly users for symptoms of early onset neuro-degenerative disease, and when symptoms are detected their chosen contact will be alerted. This allow them to get the help they need early,” he said.

“If we were to release a final product, it could have a big impact on the lives' of the users. Firstly, it would allow for easier, and better-quality communications between the elderly and their loved ones, something that is lacking in current aged care systems.

“Secondly, the symptom checking, once working, has the capacity to improve the quality of life for those who get diagnosed, as early diagnosis and treatment is crucial with these conditions,” Jack said.

The Peter Farrell Cup is a UNSW competitive ideas program. It offers applicants the necessary tools, skills. guidance and support to take their ideas from that initial light bulb moments to test and pitch, and potentially launch a real business.