Scaffold Digital  to change the lives of people living with dementia with new memory supporting app featured image

Scaffold Digital, a Lisburn based digital agency, is in the final stages of developing a new app to support a personalised approach to reminiscence. 

The InspireD app has been commissioned by NI healthcare authorities for use by people living with dementia and the health and social care staff who support them.  The InspireD app will be available on the NI Dementia Library which was launched in October 2019. It is hoped that the new app will also feature on the NHS app store.

InspireD, which has been developed  in partnership with Ulster University and the Health and Social Care Board NI (HSCB), as part of a wider Dementia eHealth and Data Analytics Pathfinder Programme, is designed to help people living with dementia and their carers  to store photographs, music and film clips which can then be used to prompt conversations about past experiences and important life events.

The development of the InspireD app is a revolutionary step in the digitisation of the healthcare sector and will make Scaffold Digital a pioneer in the field.

InspireD will work by enabling people living with dementia, their carers and families, to create a digital memory book with photos, video and sound.

It boasts a guided uploading and navigation process to allow users to add and organise content as well as recording voice notes and more.

The InspireD app will be assessed to meet the required clinical standards, security and usability criteria to provide health and social care professionals reassurance in recommending it to people living with dementia and their carers.  Pending final tests from industry evaluation authority  Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA), the app will be available this summer.

Tim Proctor, Scaffold Digital Managing Director said: “Everyone of us is made up of a story of events and connections and when a person is diagnosed with dementia those memories that make up our lives are suddenly at risk of fading or even disappearing. With InspireD we can assist in safeguarding the occasions, people and circumstances that have shaped those living with dementia through visual and vocal triggers. It will effectively support a more personalised approach to reminiscence and will become the first app of its kind on the NI Dementia Apps Library.

“The digital revolution is well and truly underway and it’s left no sector untouched. InspireD is a huge part of that movement within healthcare. It’s an app that illustrates exactly how technological disruption can truly benefit our lives and we are very optimistic about its future.”

InspireD is not the first app created by Scaffold Digital for the healthcare sector. The business was shortlisted for a Digital DNA award recently for its TakeTen Mobile App which monitors heart rate variability providing biofeedback for stress and anxiety management.

Ulster University’s Professor of Ageing and Health, Assumpta Ryan, has been working closely with the team at Scaffold Digital on the development of InspireD. She said:

 “For most people, the thought of a dementia diagnosis and the fear of losing their ability to recall treasured memories is devastating.  We know that for many people, longer-term memories can be accessed in the early to moderate stages of dementia and reminiscence can be used to support this process.  Our recent research which used an iPad to help 60 people living with dementia to reminisce showed how important it is for people to focus on the memories that they still have, rather than thinking about what is lost.   

“People in our study talked about how using the app to reminisce ‘helped me find myself again’ and reminded both themselves and their families that ‘there is still so much inside’.  The InspireD app we are developing with Scaffold Digital is the next stage of our research and the ease with which people will be able to download the app means that many more people living with dementia will have the opportunity to experience the many benefits we have already seen from reminiscence.”  

Dementia NI’s Ashleigh Davis added: “The Dementia NI message is clear. Life still goes on following a diagnosis. Many who first hear that they have dementia feel isolated, deskilled and afraid, and Dementia NI assists these people to remain valued citizens who can still play a beneficial part within their communities. We are confident that an app that will assist people living with dementia to reminisce through visuals, sounds and video will deliver significant benefits.

“At Dementia NI, we set up groups throughout Northern Ireland solely for people living with dementia, to meet on a regular basis, offer each other peer support through social gatherings and raise awareness about what it is like to live with the symptoms of dementia. To be in a position to offer an online resource to support more people living with dementia across Northern Ireland throughout their journey is wonderful news.”

Dementia NI Member James Murray who has been involved in the coproduction and testing of the app welcomed the news: “It has been a pleasure to be involved in the process of building the InspireD app. I believe that this app will be of great benefit to assist in storing memories dear to me and support my family in recalling happy recollections when helping me reminisce in the future.”

The team consists of a forward-thinking group of people, focussed on developing digital potential for business and organisations, and specialising in the provision of bespoke software solutions across web and app to streamline processes and improve engagement.