Few doubt the scale of the challenge posed by dementia, yet there is no cure and so accelerating research into prevention and care is crucial. Harnessing digital technology to help researchers understand and address key issues in care, the innovation foundation Nesta today announced a new initiative to connect those with dementia, and carers, with researchers. The charity is piloting two new apps – Book of You and Playlist for Life – as part of its Dementia Citizens project, and is now seeking 500 people to use the apps in a three month study.
Through the apps, people with dementia and their carers can enjoy shared activities such as listening to music or creating a digital photo story book while also completing well-being surveys. Specialist researchers can then use the everyday data produced by these activities to spot patterns, understand care interventions and produce evidence-based recommendations.
John Loder, head of strategy, Health Lab, Nesta said: “This is an ambitious project that brings two spheres of work together in a way that is urgently needed. 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.”
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 at scale by providing easy access to open datasets and digital toolkits. Users of the apps during the next three months will help develop the technology and improve the user experience for people affected by dementia.
Compatible with iOS smartphones and tablets (iPhone, iPads, iPod Touch), app development comes from research partners Bangor University and Glasgow Caledonian University. To sign up to the two apps, visit www.dementiacitizens.org.