Northern Ireland news

App developed for dementia sufferers

Research showed improvements in mood, wellbeing, quality of life and relationships for people living with dementia

A NEW reminiscence app has been developed to help people living with dementia, their carers and families create a digital memory book of photographs, videos and sounds.

The InspireD App has been created by researchers from Ulster University's Schools of Nursing, Computing and the Belfast School of Art in partnership with Dementia NI and local app developer Scaffold Digital.

It builds on research carried out by the university on the impact of a personalised reminiscence programme, which showed improvements in mood, wellbeing, quality of life and relationships for people living with dementia.

The app aims to spark conversations and provide opportunities to share experiences and maintain relationships.

Many people living with dementia have problems with their short-term memory and find it easier to remember things about their past, something supported by active reminiscence with other people.

The app is free to download on both Apple and Android or from the HSC Apps4Dementia library (

Users can add personal photographs and videos with written or voice notes to help family, friends and carers understand why a particular memory or time is special.

Professor Assumpta Ryan of Ulster University described it as a "truly collaborative project... which has the power to enhance the lives of those living with dementia".

Dementia NI member Davie McElhinney who was diagnosed with dementia four years ago has been using app over the past few weeks,

"I find it very calming, and they help me remember places I have been and people I've met.

"There is one particular photo from when my son and daughter were very young on a beach. When I look at the photograph I can remember that it was a really warm day and that we had a fantastic time.

"When I look at it, it brings back that memory, I can smell the sea and I can remember the great day we had."

The InspireD app was commissioned by the Health and Social Care Board NI as part of a wider Dementia eHealth and Data Analytics Pathfinder Programme and has been "rigorously tested" and passed as safe to download and use on smartphones and tablets.

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