The University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) has announced the development of a ground-breaking new app to help improve workplaces, public buildings and homes for people living with dementia.
Working in collaboration with construction experts Space Group, the team is creating the first app of its kind in the world to digitally assess how suitable a residence, care facility or other environment is for older people and those living with dementia.
The dementia database, called IRIDIS, will make a simple assessment of a person’s home and recommend changes that can be made to the building.
The free homeowner app, available to download from autumn 2017, will address physical aspects of design which impact upon older people’s quality of life and their ability to live more independently. This includes lighting, colour contrast and noise.
People living with dementia, family members, healthcare professionals, construction experts or designers using the app, will be asked questions about their surroundings, and asked to take photographs.
It will take around just 20 minutes to assess the suitability of a two-bedroom home for an older person.
Improvements the app may recommend will be as simple as changing a light bulb, to more complex improvements such as reconfiguring bathrooms.
The app will be available to download from Thursday 21 September, on International Alzheimer’s Day.
Cases of dementia are on the rise. Around 700,000 people in England have the disease c
urrently, and this figure is expected to increase to over a million by 2025.
Since the beginning of 2015, more than 1,000 people across the country have spoken to local Healthwatch about their experiences of dementia care – from the help provided by GPs to the support offered through hospitals and social care.
Local Healthwatch have also visited more than 120 care homes. They’ve spoken to patients themselves, as well as those providing support, such as care home staff and family carers, to find out what’s working well, and what could be improved.
Researchers in Finland have identified a link between regular sauna use and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in men.
The authors of the study which you can read in full here concluded:
“In this male population, moderate to high frequency of sauna bathing was associated with lowered risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Further studies are warranted to establish the potential mechanisms linking sauna bathing and memory diseases”
The researchers speculate that sauna use increases heart rate in a way that is comparable to exercise, which benefits heart health. This same mechanism could also be beneficial for memory, the team suggest.
Compared with men who used a sauna once a week, men who used a sauna four to seven times weekly were found to be at 66 percent lower risk of any dementia and had a 65 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Read full study here from the journal of Age and Ageing
A machine learning method analyzing large amounts of health information has potential in assessing the risk of cognitively healthy older people for later dementia, according to research. The new risk assessment tool also presents the individual risk profile in a quickly interpretable visual form.
The world’s largest dementia research experiment, which takes the form of a video game, has indicated the ability to navigate declines throughout life.
Getting lost is one of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and the researchers at University College London believe the results presented at the 2016 Neuroscience Conference could help makea test for dementia.
Sea Hero Quest is a nautical adventure to save an old sailor’s lost memories.
The game anonymously records the player’s sense of direction and navigational ability through each level. Players have to weave through waterways and fire a flare back home as well as memorising a sequence of buoys.
Data harnessed from the flare levels suggests that sense of direction declines consistently after the teenage years. Players aged 19 were 74% accurate at firing the flare back home, but accuracy fell year by year until it reached 46% at age 75.
The point of the research is to develop a way of diagnosing dementia in its earliest stages – something not yet possible.
New apps which help people with dementia to reminisce about their life have been launched with the hope of transforming their care and quality of life.
The app, RemindMeCare, uses reminiscence therapy to encourage people with dementia to talk about their memories.
The software automatically creates content that matches the life story of the person with dementia. In addition to photos, the system uses music, films and images of events and places, taken from the web, to create a detailed multimedia profile of the person.
This profile is then used to help stimulate conversation between the person with dementia and their carers in order to build a better relationship.
For group activities, the software will pick up on shared interests and help several residents to take part. Family members can upload relevant information to their relative’s profile and be more actively involved in their care.
An advantage of ReMindMeCare is that it creates a digital record of activities and interventions so carers do not necessarily have to record all of this information separately.
The Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics (LSE) has developed a web tool for accessing scientific evidence on dementia care and treatment.
Recently launched, the Dementia Evidence Toolkit is a unique resource bringing together over 3,000 empirical journal articles and 700 systematic reviews. Each of these articles and reviews is coded according to type of dementia, care setting, outcome measured, type of intervention and country of study or authors.
The summaries of interventions cover: advance care planning; staff training in assisted living residences (STAR); maintenance cognitive stimulation therapy; cognitive stimulation therapy; music therapy; and START: Strategies for Relatives. Each summary gives a rating for the intervention, focusing on the following: whether or not it worked, was cost-effective, and the strength of evidence. The Toolkit also suggests future research.