An Alma based research and development company that specializes in creating and applying technology to the needs of people with severe disabilities received a $177,007 research grant from the National Institute on Aging.

InvoTek Inc., received the grant in partnership with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to create a low-cost training app to help home-based individuals care for elders with dementia, according to a media release.

InvoTek engineers will develop the app and UAMS clinicians will evaluate its use with Arkansas elders, the release states.

Tom Jakobs, InvoTek’s president and founder, said his company used an early prototype of the simulator to train nursing home caregivers.

“We saw very encouraging improvements in their residents’ ability to perform activities such as dressing themselves,” Jakobs said.

The Android-based app will feature a video simulator that teaches proven care-giving strategies that help elders to complete activities such as dressing, bathing and grooming as independently as possible.

Alzheimer’s affects approximately 54,000 Arkansans and more than 5 million people nationwide, Pao-Feng Tsai, an Alice An-Loh Sun endowed associate professor in geriatric nursing at UAMS, said in the release.

“This app may help thousands of elders with dementia stay in their homes longer, extending their quality of life and postponing the move to expensive long-term care facilities,” Tsai said.

InvoTek expects to complete the development and evaluation of the new training app in summer of 2017.