A dementia care app for residents and long-term care community managers has won top prize in a technology competition sponsored by the National Institute on Aging.

MapHabit is mobile software that visually guides people with dementia and their caregivers through activities of daily living. Using visual cues, it prompts users to follow simple commands to perform daily tasks, such as taking pills or brushing teeth.

The app has an interface not only for residents, but LTC managers. Caregivers can organize activities of daily living. They can also monitor adherence to medication schedules and track other activities, according to the MapHabit team. 

The app’s software takes advantage of the brain’s procedural memory system, which is spared for considerable time during the course of Alzheimer’s disease, explained developer Stuart Zola, Ph.D. This contrasts with the hippocampal memory system, which is damaged early in the disease process, he said.

The Atlanta-based MapHabit team received the institute’s $250,000 first prize.