New apps piloted to connect people affected by dementia and researchers

Posted on 2nd August 2016

Innovation foundation Nesta has announced a new initiative today to connect people with dementia and their 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.

Alzheimer’s Research UK is supporting the Dementia Citizens project, which aims to harness digital technology to help research into dementia. Through the apps being launched today, 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 will then be able to use the everyday data produced by these activities to spot patterns, understand care interventions and produce evidence-based recommendations to address key issues in care

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 Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society, 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.

Matthew Norton, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK said:

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is delighted to support this innovative scheme, which offers an easy way for people with dementia and their carers to take part in engaging activities and contribute to research at the same time. We know that many people would like to take part in dementia research but do not know how – projects like Dementia Citizens, alongside initiatives such as Join Dementia Research, are crucial in providing opportunities for the public to get involved in research efforts. Research is vital for improving the lives of the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and this scheme is a welcome addition in the fight against the condition.”

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 http://dementiacitizens.org/

Posted in Policy news