The last week of August saw Nesta announce the launch of two new apps, Book of You and Playlist for Life, as part of the Dementia Citizens project – a digital platform that connects people affected by dementia and their carers together with researchers.
Few doubt the scale of the challenge posed by dementia. Yet with no available cure, it is crucial that research into prevention and care is accelerated – not least because some 850,000 people are currently living with dementia in the UK alone.
The initiative comes from Nesta’s Health Lab, which is committed to exploring how innovative digital technologies can improve and empower people to take a more active role in their health.
The goal of the project is to help experts in the field spot patterns, learn more about caring for people with dementia and help them produce evidence-based recommendations. By harnessing technology in this way it is possible to widen our understanding of dementia and address key issues in the provision of care for people with dementia.
These new apps will allow people living with dementia and their carers to enjoy shared activities, such as listening to music or creating a digital life story book whilst also completing well-being surveys. This then allows specialist researchers to use the data produced by these everyday activities to spot patterns, understand care interventions, and produce evidence-based recommendations.
Users of the apps in the current three month trial period will help to develop the technology and improve the user experience for future users.
Supported by the Department of Health, Alzheimer’s Society, and Alzheimer’s Research UK, Dementia Citizens offers a low-cost alternative for researchers looking to conduct research on a large scale by providing easy access to open datasets and digital toolkits. This is an incredibly important development as one of the biggest barriers to dementia research is the high cost of conducting research at scale.
To sign up for the new apps or to find out more about Dementia Citizens, head to www.dementiacitizens.org