Building Habits That Stick For Those With Cognitive or Developmental Challenges

For those with cognitive decline or impairment, remembering to complete simple, everyday tasks can be a big hurdle, even habits formed over several decades can suddenly be challenging to grasp.

And for those managing intellectual or developmental disabilities, learning new tasks, like taking vitamins or packing lunch, can be hard to accomplish independently or even lower their confidence. Both of these common situations tend to put pressure on caregivers.

To make daily routines less daunting, MapHabit, a 1501 Health cohort company, has a simple, executable solution. The solution is timely, as national diagnosis rates for common cognitive issues such as dementia continue to climb.

MapHabit’s low-cost, non-invasive, evidence-based platform taps into the power of procedural memory. By showcasing a sequence of images, individuals develop an automatic non-conscious ability to complete tasks on their own. It’s habit-forming through visuals.

“The technology looks similar to an Instagram story, but custom to the user’s specific living environment,” Matt Golden, Co-founder and CEO, said. “It taps into a part of the brain that's not affected by neurodegenerative diseases.”

For users, being able to self-manage their routines restores their dignity and sense of autonomy. And the platform lightens the mental load for caregivers, helping them release the burden of completing tasks for them, or feeling anxious that the task isn’t complete.

Caregiving is becoming increasingly more common as the U.S. population ages. Add in the lack of direct, in-person support from a professional healthcare perspective, and the struggle for family members who do the unpaid work of caregiving is intense.

“It's too expensive from a health equity and access perspective,” Golden said of the caregiver crisis. “When you look at communities particularly in rural America, there's just not enough in-person support. Having technology is critical for the healthcare system going forward, and to have enabling or assistive technologies like MapHabit help bend the cost curve on healthcare is imperative.”

MapHabit hosts 2,500 active members on the platform, but if you factor in a member’s circle of support, they impact three times that many individuals. The company is set to scale its growth three-fold over the next few years. Notably, MapHabit has five peer-reviewed publications and has been awarded $6.5 million in grants from the National Institute of Health.

This growth is fueled by Golden’s commitment to consistently testing solutions for a variety of demographics, especially as there is a wide range of communication preferences and digital literacy levels.

In fact, his advice to other entrepreneurs who are building a technology product is, “Don't always assume the communication medium you use is what your target audience will use. Do a lot of testing and experimentation to hone in on the best delivery mechanism for your innovation, and you'll have a much better outcome.”

Golden has found a solution that works for his audience, and he and his team are empowering neurodiverse members build durable habits and make a meaningful impact for those seeking more independence.

About 1501 Health 

1501 Health is a unique partnership between Healthworx and LifeBridge Health, representing expertise in both health insurance and financing (payers) and healthcare delivery and services (providers). The investment and incubation program empowers entrepreneurs to get their innovative solutions to market and expand their impact in healthcare quality, access and affordability. To learn more about 1501Health, visit 
About Healthworx 
Healthworx operates at the intersection of healthcare and innovation by creating, co-creating and investing in companies that are improving healthcare quality, accessibility, affordability and equity. As the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Healthworx envisions a healthier future for all people by changing the way health works. To learn more about Healthworx, visit 
About LifeBridge Health 
LifeBridge Health is one of the largest, most comprehensive providers of health services in Maryland. LifeBridge Health includes Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Grace Medical Center and related affiliates. For more information, visit