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New app saves dementia patients’ memories

A new memory-sharing app has been launched to help older people tell their life stories and save memories.

The Remarkable Lives app builds an interactive timeline of memories for older people, like a private digital photo album with stories included. Unlike traditional social media, it is able to chronicle people’s life stories from the beginning.

The team behind the app hopes it will encourage people to help save someone else’s life story before it’s too late. As Caroline Lumsden, the wife of a dementia patient, commented:

This has been good for all of us. Everyone has a remarkable life, which should be made known to carers so that the elderly coping with dementia can be afforded the dignity and respect they have dutifully earned.

The app is also being used as a practical resource for people living with dementia, giving them a way of reminiscing on times past and sharing information with families and carers. One Senior Care Worker, Grace Stallard, explains:

Knowing more about someone’s life history makes it easier to work with their psychological needs, rather than just their physical care needs – something that can be overlooked in care.

Owen McNeir, Founder of Remarkable Lives which is a social enterprise supported by the UnLtd programme, said:

While running life story workshops in care homes, I was astonished at how so many of people’s life stories were unknown to their families and, consequently, their carers. I saw how this impacts our chances of ageing healthily, how it compounds loneliness and isolation at a time in people’s lives when they should be valued and heard.

We need to take seriously the benefit and impact of treating a person as a human with an identity, not just as a collection of symptoms or a list of tasks, especially if they’re struggling with memory loss or are unable to communicate through anxiety or distress.

The app is currently only available for iPhone from the App Store.

Stock image by Mario Mancuso licensed under Creative Commons