A new digital app has been launched at the House of Commons today for people living with dementia.
Dementia is a universal issue. Something that touches all walks of life. With diagnosis of expected to double in the next 30 years, we will all be affected by dementia.
National Museums Liverpool is confronting dementia head on. As the organisation behind the new My House of Memories app, it has also set the challenge to find a way to ensure that every care home in the country has access to a free digital tablet, so that residents living with dementia can enjoy the benefits that new technologies can offer.
The app is about connecting people and enabling families and carers to continue building relationships with people who are living with dementia. Using a simple format to stimulate memory, it allows people to browse social history objects from the Museum of Liverpool’s collection to prompt reminiscence, which can instigate conversation, special moments and shared memories between parents, sons and daughters, carers and their clients.
The objects featured in the app are brought to life with multimedia, and app-users can save objects to their own memory trees, memory boxes or memory timelines, and carers can also create personal profiles for the different people they support.
Phil Redmond, Chair of National Museums Liverpool said: “The launch of this app is a real high point in our work around dementia awareness and is the culmination of months of consultation, discussion and planning to produce a truly wonderful memory resource co-created with people living with dementia.
“The content themes are wide ranging and designed to be intuitive, allowing users to follow a memory path of their choice. The app can save chosen images onto a personal memory tree which can be saved and recalled, so it’s perfect for a residential care setting as one tablet can be used for a number of residents.”
National Museums Liverpool also has wider aspirations to develop the app further, adapting the content for different locations around the country. It is part of the organisation’s wider House of Memories dementia awareness programme, which has been running since 2012. To date, House of Memories has trained more than 5,000 carers across Merseyside, the North and Midlands to gain awareness and develop deeper understanding of dementia using local museums and cultural venues as a vital resource.
Speaking at the event today, which was hosted by Steve Rotheram MP, Minister of State for Care and Support Norman Lamb MP said:
"Helping people live well with dementia is the biggest challenge we face. I'm delighted to support the House of Memories, an exceptional project which is making a huge difference to the way people care for those with dementia. Such a simple but brilliant idea, we must never forget how important it is to support innovative ways of caring for people with dementia.”
Carol Rogers, Executive Director of Education, Communities and Visitors at National Museums Liverpool said: “Although the app uses objects from our social history collection here in Liverpool, they are relevant to people everywhere. The objects act as prompts to unlock people’s own collections of memories that might be tucked away at the back of their minds, inspiring conversation and interaction. If we can make the app accessible to every care home across the country, it would be a fantastic achievement.”
Details of how to download the My House of Memories app on ITunes and Google Play can be found at http://liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/app
The App has been co-produced with Innovate Dementia and individual members of their Regional Stakeholder Platform, and Mersey Care NHS Trust and members of the Mossley Hill Hospital Memory Group. It has been funded by the Mi (More Independent) Partnership, which aims to help people live more independently through the use of technology.
National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than 2.7 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery.
House of Memories has been running at the Museum of Liverpool since 2012, training more than 5,000 carers across Liverpool and the north to date.
The programme has received recognition from NHS England North West for their Learning Together in Health and Social Care Award 2013, won the 2014 Museums & Heritage award for Best Educational Initiative, was Highly Commended at the 2014 Dementia Friends Awards in the National initiative category, and is cited as an example of best practice in the Museums Association’s new vision for the impact of museums: Museums Change Lives. To mark Adult Learners’ Week 2014, House of Memories was recently given the North West Learning Life Skills Project Award.