MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CBSNew York) — There’s a rather unfair stereotype that technology and senior citizens don’t get along, says Jean Coppola, associate professor of information technology at Pace University.

“But we found in our gerontechnology research that you can break that barrier,” Coppola told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.

And to break that barrier, they’re turning to tech-tinkering teens. This is the second year Westchester County and Pace University have teamed up for The Westchester Smart Mobile App Development Bowl.

“It’s only limited to your imagination because if you could think of transportation issues and health care issues, seniors need apps to keep their cognitive functioning,” Coppola said.

Teams of high school students carefully tailor their apps for older users.

“The buttons are big. The fonts are large. The color contrast is just right, and it becomes friendly to seniors,” Coppola said.

Mamaroneck High School computer science teacher Jigar Jadav believes it’s also an unfair stereotype to think that young people are just interested in video games.

“To create an app for Alzheimer’s patients, I mean medically related, that’s quite intense,” he said.

His student, Jack Phillips, won last year with an app inspired by his grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

It starts with a simple calendar.

“The caregivers can also add in pictures of people and places and a little description about them and then attach them to the various events, and then the patient can go on that event and look at a description of the event and then on the bottom it has people who are going to be there, and then they can refresh so they avoid awkward situations where they don’t remember information about people. They have it right there on their phone,” Phillips said.

Once the apps are developed, they are made available for free.

For more information on the Mobile App Development Bowl, click here.


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