Manx Hospice trials app for dementia patients to improve wellbeing

The Isle of Man's hospice is trialling an app aiming to improve the wellbeing of patients with dementia by helping them to reminisce.

It is the brainchild of friends Bruce Elliott and Peter Quayle who came up with idea when talking about their elderly parents. 

The games are on a variety of subjects, from places around the world to food, aiming to "trigger positive memories". 

Thirty volunteers will trial the app, using it once a week for six months.

Mr Quayle said the aim was to build an app that people like his mum, who has dementia, could use to "help to reconnect with the family, to enjoy family photos... and start conversations".

Hospice Isle of Man chief executive Anne Mills said the app could prove to be "a game changer for improving the quality of life and communication between patients and their families".

The trial was a way of providing a "recognisable, robust study to back up and provide evidence" about the technology, she said.

She said, as people with dementia moved towards end of life, communication could be "hard in itself".

"If you've actually put forward a tool that enables and levers change for social interactions, then I think that's got to improve quality of life," she added.

Mr Elliott said the free Memory Lane Games app had been downloaded 45,000 times since its launch in 2020 and the games were being played in a hundred countries around the world. 

"It's just very simple, fun, quiz-style games... but it's about the conversations, it's not about the games themselves," he said.

"Our most popular games are Finish the Lyrics from 1950s, 1960s, those kind of games, so referencing music is such a powerful, emotive activity."