Alzheimer’s Research UK has created a new social media app designed to simulate some of the symptoms experienced by people with dementia.
FaceDementia – www.facedementia.org – harnesses a person’s recent Facebook activity to give an insight into what hundreds of thousands of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia go through each day. The was developed with input from volunteers, all of whom have been affected by dementia.
FaceDementia shows users what it would be like to forget where they live, work or go to school or who their loved-ones are, using a combination of personal photos, status updates and other information shared on their page. People can also watch short videos featuring people affected by dementia explaining how the symptoms FaceDementia simulates impacted on them or their relative.
The app does not hold on to any data or scramble a user’s real timeline or Facebook information, instead presenting an overlay to show how dementia can affect the brain.
Rebecca Wood, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Facebook’s appeal is that it can gather your friends and family and keep them close, with memories and contacts all contained within one space. It also develops a diary of your life since you joined the site and documents your thoughts and musings during that time.
“We wanted to use these Facebook features to illustrate how those thoughts and memories can be confused, or forgotten altogether, as experienced by some of the hundreds of thousands of people across the UK living with dementia.
“Stigma around dementia is due in part to a lack of public awareness and understanding, so FaceDementia will be invaluable in helping people better understand the condition. We hope FaceDementia highlights why it’s so important to invest money into research so our scientists can tackle the devastating diseases that cause dementia.”