Today (Sunday 21 September 2014) is World Alzheimer’s Day. Alzheimer’s, often known as dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK and it is predicted that by 2051 there will be two million people living with dementia (figures Alzheimer’s Society).
There are many types of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse.
An eight year study of almost 6,500 Britons recently published in the Journals of Gerontology has shown that digital literacy (using email/internet) may help reduce cognitive decline among persons aged between 50 and 89 years. The study showed that people using the internet showed an improvement of 3.07% in delayed recall when compared with those who were non-users.”
Working with our partners Viridian Housing in their elderly care homes we are about to start a phase of training aimed specifically at people with living with dementia. Tutors working with Viridian have attended dementia awareness training with the Alzheimer’s Society to ensure they have knowledge of the symptoms and difficulties they may encounter.
Working with SimplyUnite Gem (software specially designed to enable people, regardless of their age or technical ability, to stay connected with friends and family) we hope to be able to decrease social isolation for these residents, encouraging them to use the internet to keep in contact with family and friends, share or re-discover memories using photographs and websites.