When Keith’s nanny, whom he affectionately calls grandma, was diagnosed with dementia, Keith had to witness the heart-wrenching transformation first-hand. The bubbly, affectionate personality he grew up with slowly morphed into a depressed, withdrawn woman.
As her condition deteriorated, Keith’s grandma would lock herself in the house so as to not worry her children. A particularly heart-breaking moment occurred on Keith’s birthday, when his grandma expressed her fears of forgetting about him.
In that instance, Keith knew that he had to help. He set out to find a way to improve the welfare and quality of life of those with dementia. Drawing inspiration from his own experience, Keith created Beepi in October 2018.
Beepi takes the form of a token, and utilises QR codes to provide real-time location tracking and information access. These codes are imprinted on the tokens, and link to Beepi’s platform, where important personal and medical information can be stored.
In the event that an individual with dementia is lost, passers-by can simply scan the code to obtain next-of-kin information. Meanwhile, medical information is accessible only to licensed medical professionals. This ensures privacy whilst still allowing medical assistance to be provided promptly in case of emergencies.
This might not seem like much, but Beepi is thoughtfully designed to best cater to the needs of individuals with dementia.
While there are various technologies that enable location tracking, Keith is well-aware that this particular demographic is not tech-savvy. The decision as thus made to utilise QR codes, as they require minimal technical expertise.
Yet, Keith is aware that for Beepi to work, he will also need to change mindsets and attitudes towards dementia in society – a herculean task in itself.
“Tolerating is one thing,” explains Keith, “but to go up to someone that looks lost and ask if they need help is another.” Ultimately, he hopes his product will push society beyond simple tolerance, and towards a kinder, friendlier attitude towards those with dementia.
Keith cites the worrying trend of depressed elderly being on the rise as his motivation. He hopes that with Beepi, individuals with dementia will be able to leave their homes with a greater sense of security and reap the many benefits of being outdoors.
Beepi helps provide reassurance, all it needs now is a helpful society to ensure they are free to enjoy life as they used to. Will you be a part of that society?