Technology start-up tackles dementia with platform to make care personal
There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. The issue of providing all of these people with the care they deserve is one that technology start-up and social venture Interactive Me is helping carers solve by providing an interactive platform that could improve the level of care by giving it a personal touch.
Interactive Me is building on work conducted by Thomas Kitwood, a pioneer in the field of dementia care. In the 90’s Kitwood penned the concept of person-cantered care, believing that the social and personal identify of an individual can be maintained by the relationships of others. While organisations have attempted person-centred care it’s often been a challenge due to each treatment needing to be tailored. Interactive Me utilises technology to provide a solution, helping carers to become more focussed on the person rather than the dementia diagnosis.
Sam Dondi-Smith, Founder of Interactive Me, said, “When someone has dementia and they start receiving care, the carer sees someone who is unwell, deteriorating and frankly unexciting. As soon as they realise some facts about that person’s life, what they did, what they enjoy and what makes them tick suddenly their viewpoint changes. Interactive Me is about forming a relationship between two people, one of which is losing their memory and one which knows nothing about the person they are looking at; once two humans have something to talk about they start bonding and understanding each other.”
The team behind Interactive Me gathers information about the individuals living with dementia, such as photographs, music they like, their life story and other preferences. These profiles can then be accessed on any web-connected device and added to by care staff and family members, allowing them to build stronger relationships and use the information in activities with the dementia patients.
Melissa, a daughter and customer of Interactive Me, said “Interactive Me has given carers that additional support they need to do a personal activity with my Mum, which can reduce her confusion and trigger memories. Interactive Me also lets carers know about who she really was before she got dementia.”
Sam Dondi-Smith developed the concept for Interactive Me while studying to be an occupational therapist and this background is reflected throughout the organisation. The positive impact of Interactive Me is already being felt in residential care home across the South East, where carers are building up meaningful relationships both with their residents and families. The unique approach not only helps carers and those experiencing dementia but their wider families, who can at times feel at a loss as to how to provide the best support. Moving forward, Interactive Me aims to expand to help even more of the 850,000 people with dementia in the UK.
To find out more visit http://www.interactiveme.org.uk/.
Dakota Digital for Interactive Me
Press contact: Charlotte Malone
Tel UK: 01623 428996
Tel US: 917-720-3025
Based in Kent, Interactive Me is an occupational therapy led service. The organisation supports people with dementia to improve their social interactions by setting up Online Memory Boxes they can use with their support staff on any web-connected device. Each interactive memory box is curated specifically for the individual and contains items such as personal photographs, music, video and audio clips.