Nesta, along with partners, the Department of Health, Alzheimer's Research UK, and Alzheimer’s Society, have this week announced the launch of Dementia Citizens, a platform that aims to bring together researchers and those affected by dementia to help find ways to improve care.
There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and this is expected to increase to over 1 million by 2025. Not only is there is no cure, but we know much less than we would like about how to care for people with dementia.
We need to learn faster and digital technology has massive potential to help achieve this. There are smartphones and wearable devices in most homes in Britain, capable of gathering huge amounts data that could be of very valuable to researchers. Also the cognitive stimulation that helps people with dementia - such as music, reminiscence, art and so on - can be delivered digitally.
The idea is to team up with researchers to build engaging and evidence based apps that:
- Support and improve the quality of life of the person with dementia, and their relationship with those around them.
- Generate data that researchers can use, and which improves our understanding of care for dementia.
- Are safe and ethical.
This week sees the launch of beta versions of the first two apps on iOS, focused on music and reminiscence. Playlist for Life, backed by Glasgow Caledonian University, which helps people with dementia and their carers, find music that has meaning.
Book of You, backed by Bangor University, helps people assemble images, text and sound about meaningful places and events. Both of these support not just the person with dementia, but their relationship with the people around them.
Nesta hope to show three things over this beta phase:
- That people with dementia and their carers are keen to participate in digital research.
- That they can comfortably use the technology.
- And that quality, publishable research can result from this.
If you’re a person with dementia, or caring for one, and would like to participate in one of the research studies, sign up at www.dementiacitizens.org