We’re all going to get old one day – a scary, but realistic, thought. Are you guilty of living in the moment and not stepping back to think about what your life will be like when you’re older? We certainly are. And can we honestly say we’re doing enough to support our older generation to stop them from feeling lonely and isolated?
In reality, all the support our older generations need is time and communication. But unfortunately, taking time out of our hectic lives isn’t always easy, especially when you’ve got work and children to think about. Communication is the key here – because it’s understandable if you can’t take a few hours out of your day to go and see a loved one, but you certainly can take a few minutes to send them a message or a photo to make their day.
Today, World Alzheimer’s Day, marks the launch of myPlayLife – an app which has been delicately developed with the NHS Innovation Agency to provide a private communication platform for families and friends to share precious memories. It can be used to stay in touch with people living in care homes, or their own homes, to let them know you are thinking about them at the times when you can’t be there to see them personally. The app digitises cherished photo, video and audio memories and connects families to the care environment, and it even has a ‘Lite’ mode for people living with dementia or memory loss; adding another layer of interactive therapy to existing care programmes.
Don’t just take our word for it!…the lovely lady in the photo above is ‘Nan’, she’s 69 years young and is also our biggest fan. Here’s what she has to say about myPlayLife:
“I was a little apprehensive when I heard about myPlayLife (these youngsters are all brilliant with technology and tend to forget that us oldies find it difficult to adapt). But as soon as I started to use it, I was pleasantly surprised – it is very clear and simple and if I can use it, anyone can! I love it when my grandchildren take a couple of minutes out of their day to send me a photo or message. I just feel that bit more in touch with their busy lives.”
Keep an eye out for Nan’s blog, ‘A day in the life of Nan’, on the myPlayLife website soon!
The older generation and those with dementia are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation and myPlayLife will allow users to share and look back on cherished memories, with the reassurance that the network is completely private from outside viewers. It uses a technique called reminiscence therapy to stimulate the brain and trigger past memories.
About reminiscence therapy:
Reminiscence therapy is a form of non pharmacological therapy that aims to trigger past memories by keeping the brain stimulated. It could be looking at a photo from the past or listening to a favourite song that stimulates the brain, which in turn reminds the person of past associated thoughts and memories. It helps people with dementia as it is vital for them to keep their brain stimulated and active in order to ensure their brain stays healthy. In doing so, they will feel more encouraged in communicating and interacting with others, either about present or previous moments which will be linked to memories. It boosts their self-esteem and provides them with a sense of fulfilment and comfort as they look back on their lives with positive thoughts. Unfortunately, dementia can often be linked with depression, and using reminiscence therapy allows someone with dementia to enjoy a conversation about their childhood, wedding day and other fond memories which have been triggered.