A prize fund of £100,000 is being offered to allow new products to be developed that allow people with dementia to retain connections with their existing lives and to remain independent for longer. Challenge Dementia has been launched by Essex County Council as a UK-wide initiative open to individuals, teams and companies to come up with products, ideas or services that could help people with dementia in this way.
Up to 10 finalists will be chosen and given £5000 each to test and develop their ideas over 6 months. £100,000 will then be awarded to one of those ideas to take the product to market. Ideas could include things like an easy-to-access service that keeps people connected to their family or a digital solution that helps people connect with their community.
Obviously our dementia products are slightly different because they are designed for care homes and hospitals rather than independent living but some of the principles are the same in the respect of keeping people connected to their lives, their families and the things that they find familiar and comforting such as the retro TVs that look like the TV sets they may have had in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the memory boxes that display a personal familiar item or the Kodak digital displays that shows nostalgic slides from the era of their childhood and early adulthood. This familiarity helps to retain that connection to themselves as their short term memory declines.
We hope that this initiative helps to create some really innovative solutions to this growing issue of helping people live well with dementia. We’d be really interested to hear what professionals working in dementia environments and family members of those living with dementia would like to see in terms of new products and services or what specific issues you’d like to address through innovation. Please let us know on our Facebook page