New Dementia Citizens Project: How Digital Apps Can Enhance Your Care

An exciting new project by the innovation charity, Nesta, is planning to pilot two specially developed smartphone apps. The aim is to connect people with dementia and their carers to researchers, in order to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. The project is part of Nesta’s Dementia Citizens project and the charity hopes that the apps, Book of You and Playlist for Life, developed by Bangor and Glasgow Caledonian Universities, will provide the researchers with greater insight into the care needs and issues experienced by people with dementia.

Nesta is currently recruiting 500 people to take part in the 3-month study, looking at how people with dementia and their carers can use smartphone apps for activities such as listening to music and creating a life book story. The use of the apps will be linked to wellbeing questionnaires, with the aim of producing data enabling the researchers to spot patterns of behaviour linked to care delivery and lead to future improvements in the provision of care.

John Loder, Head of Strategy at Nesta Health Lab, said ‘Digitally-enabled and patient-led research like this not only contributes positively to the social and quality of life of the person living with dementia and their carers but can provide crucial insights into improving care.’ Read on to learn how you can get involved in the Dementia Citizens project and how digital apps can enhance the care you provide.

There has been a rapid growth in the availability of apps for people living with dementia, as the use of tablets, such as the iPad, by older people have grown in popularity. Current apps offer both entertainment and practical support, however, Book of You and Playlist for Life are unique in the feedback they will provide to their developers and to researchers.

3 Steps to Help Your Service Users Benefit from Digital Apps

  1. Identify Digital Champions. For some staff, apps, smartphones and tablets are intimidating and unfamiliar but, within every service, there will be other staff who thrive on technology and use their phone or tablet at every opportunity. Harness these skills by creating ‘Digital Champions’, with the task of sharing their knowledge and skills with others and demonstrating the benefits of technology to their colleagues, service users and families.
  2. Sign up for the Dementia Citizens project. Full details of the project, including a link to register an interest, are available on the Dementia Citizens website. The link also provides the opportunity to subscribe to a useful newsletter providing project updates.
  3. Research existing apps. Apps such as MindMate offer both games and communication tools that can be used by people living with dementia, their family and carers. The websitewww.myageingparent.com, provides links to a whole range of other useful apps.

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