The topic of dementia has regularly been in the press in recent months. The impact that dementia has on those with the condition, and those who care for them, is life changing. Voluntary groups and charities such the Alzheimer’s Society work tirelessly to improve the lives of those affected by dementia, and partnerships between charities and researchers are often used to drive forward these improvements.
Across the sphere of healthy ageing, collaboration is an effective way to encourage positive change, and a recent BBC Archive initiative is showing how this can be achieved. The newly established BBC Reminiscence Archive aims to improve lives and stimulate memories for dementia patients using a simple interface that allows easy access to a wide range of BBC archive footage, music and photos.
The service has been created in conjunction with Dundee University, the University of St. Andrews and charities, underpinned by research and a drive to improve lives. The Archive provides a wonderful place where individuals living with dementia can evoke memories of the past.
The BBC Reminiscences service is an easy to use online page, with simple multi choice one-touch options for finding archive materials. Choices can be made between Theme and Decade, with further sub-choices available.
Once a choice is made, users can easily navigate through a wide range of material that takes advantage of the vast BBC archive.
A key consideration for any product aimed at those less confident with technology, and of particular relevance to those with dementia, is accessibility. The BBC Reminiscences service has clearly been designed with this in mind as the menu choices are clear and straightforward, and large fonts and buttons enable access for all.
The structure of the system means that users (and their families and carers) can tailor use to suit themselves. The service is designed to stimulate memories in people living with dementia, and the use of BBC Reminiscences by carers and family members could therefore effectively facilitate conversation and improve wellbeing.
As a company that believes passionately in the role of carefully designed technology to improve lives, we at Link-ages are delighted that the BBC have decided to open up their archives in this way, and we hope that this collaboration serves to highlight how effective working together can be.
Our apps help connect older people including those who are living with dementia to their families and friends. Users of our apps benefit from a safe, secure and private platform where they can communicate without being concerned about their privacy or the intrusion of online adverts.
Find out more on our families page.
In their recent research, the BBC Media Literacy Study found that over 53% of people who lack basic digital skills are aged over 65. While this is an alarming statistic it is very much consistent with the research that we conducted while we have been developing Link-ages. The lack of digital skills among older adults can often result in social isolation and loneliness, both of which pose a serious health risk.
But encouraging older people to take their first steps into the digital world can be difficult. We wanted to understand if by providing a simple, safe and secure platform where all generations of a family could communicate without undue concern for their online security and privacy, whether we could make this process easier. Our apps have been developed with inexperienced users in mind, including those with dementia or special educational needs. We firmly believe in privacy by design, so we have made this an integral part of our communication solution and a core value of Link-ages.
Many of the current available communications apps fail to address the legitimate privacy concerns of inexperienced users. They quite rightly want to feel confident that they can retain control of their data and not be subjected to intrusive ads. Privacy concerns can prevent older adults and inexperienced users from enhancing their lives using the internet and digital devices.
Privacy concerns remain a significant barrier for older adults. Research conducted by Ofcom concluded that older people are likely to feel less confident in knowing how to manage their personal data online, they found that only 47% of people aged 75 and over feel very or fairly confident about managing their personal data. We strongly believe that being older or inexperienced should not mean being left out, especially not due to resolvable concerns about privacy. By providing an innovative solution that is built with privacy and security at its core, we have created a platform that older adults and inexperienced users can be confident with.
Our Link-ages Hub app, which has been designed for older and inexperienced users aims to make them feel excited about learning a new skill and empowered that they can be included in the daily digital communication between their family and friends without concerning themselves about their data security.
Link-ages can help you maintain the all-important link between your residents and their families. We would love to show you a demo of Link-ages and discuss how our apps could enhance the lives of your residents and help them stay connected to their family and friends. Visit us on stand D1164 at the Dementia, Care & Nursing Home Expo for your Link-ages demo.
Being diagnosed with dementia can be very daunting, but it does not mean that you cannot continue to lead a fulfilling life. Maintaining as much independence as possible and continuing with the activities you enjoy are important to preserving your overall wellbeing and a positive mindset, which are important aspects of living well with dementia.
Receiving a dementia diagnosis is a major life-altering event. However, there is a significant amount of support available for those who are living with dementia from family, friends and organisations such as The Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK. In this article, we explore how you can live well with dementia.
Being diagnosed with dementia can cause some people to isolate themselves from their family, friends, and others. This can have a negative impact on your wellbeing. If you can stay connected to people online and in-person it will be easier to communicate and prevent yourself from becoming lonely.
Communications Apps such as Link-ages can help you to stay in touch with your family and friends online in a secure and private platform that is simple and easy to use. Our apps have been designed with older and inexperienced internet users in mind, you can use secure messaging, photo-sharing and our in-built calendar with reminders to make and share your memories with the people that matter to you.
As well as staying in touch online, try to engage in social activities with your family and friends. Activities such as enjoying a meal in a restaurant, watching a film, playing bingo and going to a café can be very beneficial. Many places within your community are likely to be dementia-friendly and welcoming.
Dementia is not something that you have to face alone, and sharing your experiences, worries and concerns with people that are close to you will help you to manage living with dementia. Your family and friends will be more able to help and support you if you share your thoughts and feelings with them.
You may also find that sharing your dementia experiences with other people who are living with dementia is helpful. In many cases you will find that they have had similar experiences, thoughts and feelings to you. By sharing and talking about them you will be able to not only help yourself live well with dementia but also others.
It is often easier than you think to meet with other people who are living with dementia. Dementia friendly support groups are active throughout the UK. For example, the Alzheimer’s Society runs activity groups where you can enjoy activities such as arts and crafts, walking and yoga whilst also sharing your dementia experiences with others. Find your local dementia activity group on the Alzheimer’s Society website.
Small changes to your day to day life can help you to adjust to living with dementia. For many people, following a routine can help to stimulate their memory and maintain structure in their day. Your morning and evening routines can provide reassurance and act as markers for your day.
To aid your memory of everyday tasks, you can use a combination of reminders, notes and a notebook or diary to record things and remind you to complete regular tasks such as putting out your recycling and making your bed. You could use Link-ages Hub to create reminders for your regular tasks through our MyDiary.
Another small change that can be helpful to those living with dementia is storing important items such as keys, glasses and your mobile/tablet in a single place. This will make it easier to find items that are important to you while also helping to prevent you encountering the stress of losing important items.
Music has well documented benefits for everyone, including those living with dementia. It has been shown to help people relive forgotten memories from their past while providing comfort and an easy activity to engage with.
When you are looking for music or radio stations to listen to, you could start with music and radio stations that you are familiar with. Once you start to recall forgotten memories you may find that you feel like doing some singing and dancing.
Reading books and newspapers are a great way to relax and take time away from your daily routine. You can read as much or as little as you like and read about topics that interest you. Whether you prefer to read short stories, a novel or a newspaper, they are all beneficial to your wellbeing.
By reading newspapers you will also be keeping up to date with the world around you. This can provide great topics for conversations with people, helping you stay social. If you struggling to make conversation with people, why not start discussing a recent news story? Most people stay up to date with the news in some form and are likely to be engaged with the topics that you found out about in your newspaper.