IMPACT 0501: HELPING THE ELDERLY DEAL WITH DEMENTIA
Youth Action Challenge (YAC) is a platform for youth to provide solutions that tackle the issues we are concerned about. Since October 2021, over 80 teams and more than 310 youths have undertaken the YAC Season 3 journey.
Jae Teo is one of the members of the YAC Project called Familiar Voices, a healthtech device with a personalised voice function to aid caregivers to care for their kin.
To her, creating impact is making a difference with action. In her career as a tech entrepreneur, she makes a difference to her clients’ businesses and runs donation campaigns with innovative vending machine technologies.
Today she shares more about the work that she does!
What was your role within your YAC project?
Within the FamiliarVoice team, I have the most experience in the tech start-up arena, hence I contributed more on market, product and technology feasibility knowledge with my team. We wanted to create a tech product and I could share my expertise in costing management and implementation.
What motivated you to join YAC?
Joining YAC was consistent with my process of “making a difference” to lives. The problem statements were clear and I saw myself generating ideas to make Singapore better.
Can you share with us your experience with your YAC project?
I really enjoyed the journey and meeting friends with magnanimous hearts. In my team, there was a serial social entrepreneur, scholar about to take A-levels, and an aspiring-to-be nurse. They came with busy schedules, but their commitment to making an impact and making lives better motivated me even more. I enjoyed every session with them and the process in creating FamiliarVoice.
The workshops and mentor sessions were very comprehensive and professional. Although I have some experience with start-ups, the guidance and mentorship was beyond my expectations. I re-learnt and created new perspectives which helped in my business too.
What are some challenges you faced while working on your YAC project?
In my opinion, the greatest challenge for FamiliarVoice was defining our target audience accurately. It could have been because we had limited experience and user knowledge for the wider audience we chose.
We chose to work on the issue of dementia and, specifically, elders with dementia. However none of us had personal experience of being a caregiver, nor a kin with dementia.
We had reached out to Dementia Singapore and elder care centres for user research, but the volunteers were far and few between. We even put out Instagram ads seeking volunteer user interviewees.
It is still an on-going process for us to define our immediate target audience and refine on our intended product concept.
Could you share more on how your project has a positive impact?
Statistics have shown that One in 10 seniors above 60 years old in Singapore has dementia. Three in 10 elders have chronic illnesses. A combination of dementia and chronic illnesses reduces a senior’s ability to care for themselves, from remembering to take meals to performing activities—and, most importantly, taking their medicine.
We are a growing ageing society, and the responsibility to properly care for our elders will be added to their children, like us, who are also the driving force of our economy.
In response to that, we created FamiliarVoice, a healthtech device with a personalised voice function to aid caregivers to care for their kin. If they can function independently with automated personalised cues, it might reduce some caregiver burn-out and deter illness deterioration.
Were there any key takeaways or learning points from your time with YAC?
I am glad I took the time to participate in YAC because the journey was very well-guided by mentors and professionals. I felt that to push this experience further, the mentors could have been more “ruthless” when it came to idea critique to show us which ideas were really worth investing in in the real world.