Linking photos with feelings and memories with melodies

World Alzheimer’s Day, marked the launch of myPlayLife, a free reminiscence therapy app co-developed with the NHS Innovation Agency and endorsed by LWDP Caring Concepts.

Available on the App Store and Google Play, myPlayLife provides a private platform for people living in care homes, or their own homes, to stay in touch with their families and loved ones, every minute of every day. The app digitises cherished photo, video and audio memories and connects families to the care environment, and it even has a ‘Lite’ mode for people living with dementia or memory loss; adding another layer of interactive therapy to existing care programmes.

To celebrate the launch of the app, myPlayLife came together with Margaret House Residential & Dementia Care Home to enjoy afternoon tea with some of the care home’s residents and their families. The myPlayLife team showed the group how the app works and will, over the next four to six weeks, help them adopt the app into everyday life, whilst gathering some feedback to help towards the next stage of development.

Julie Greaves, Care Home Manager at Margaret House Residential & Dementia Care Home said:
“We are looking forward to using myPlayLife in the hope that it will be another way of helping our residents to connect with their families and friends. The app will support our other reminiscence activities, which help people with dementia and memory loss. We are particularly delighted to be involved with the launch of this app as it coincides with the opening of our new ‘Skype lounge’.

Founded in 2015 by two young men from West Sussex, Lewis Gleave and Benjamin Stanton, myPlayLife has been created with the intention to help connect families to loved ones that they are unable to visit every day, whether that be in a care home or in their own home. The older generation and those with dementia are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation; myPlayLife will allow users to share and look back on cherished memories, with the reassurance that the network is completely private from outside viewers, thus supporting the care home team with ensuring emotional well-being and inclusion.

When asked how the idea was invented, Benjamin Stanton, Co-Founder said:
“Music was a big inspiration, specifically the feeling you get when you hear a piece of music that makes your hairs stand up. It resonates with the body, bringing it to life through feelings and emotions. Seeing how this could potentially help with certain mental health conditions was a huge eye opener and this is where the spark for the idea came from.”

Although the app is open to all families and users, it has been intricately designed to ensure user accessibility for all ages and abilities, particularly for those with dementia. After a successful beta pilot with 16 care homes over four weeks, 90% of carers said they would recommend myPlayLife, noting that myPlayLife is ‘very good for reminiscence, which is great when working with dementia’. The financial cost of dementia alone is £26 billion per year in the UK. 80% of those in care have a form of dementia and only 44% of people with dementia receive diagnosis. Worldwide, there are 9.9 million new cases every year, which equates to one every 3.2 seconds and 1:3 born in 2015 onwards will go on to develop dementia.