Charity The Memory Box Network has launched a new online community that aims to improve the quality of life for the 7.4 million people in the UK who are directly affected by dementia.
The new site, ourbigbox.com, combines digital technology with the power of social media to deliver ‘reminiscence sessions’ – using written and oral life histories to prompt discussions, promote interaction and improve psychological wellbeing – in a format that families and carers can use together at any time.
These sessions use written and oral life histories to prompt discussions, promote interaction and improve psychological wellbeing to create a free-to-access ‘digital treasure chest’ of images and multimedia clips saved in an individual's account.
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Chief executive of Memory Box Network, Scott Downie, said: "There is no cure for dementia, but there are creative and engaging ways of improving the quality of life for all those affected by the condition. Users of ourbigbox.com will be able to share their memories and stories with not only many generations of their family, but also with carers in a residential home, which leads to a greater understanding of the individual and stronger bonds.
"The beauty of this approach is that anyone can deliver it. Sessions can be formal or informal and use of the site does not require qualifications. It can also be carried out anywhere, even where there is no internet access, as sessions can be pre-loaded on to a digital device."
Unlimited access to memory triggers
The charity aims to attract six million users to the free network over the next three years after receiving a second round of funding from social tech funder Nominet Trust.
Vicki Hearn, head of operations at Nominet Trust, said: “Reminiscence therapy is often offered to patients who have mood or memory problems, but to date, it has been facilitated purely by tangible objects – a memory box of photos and items that are used to prompt memories and conversations.
"However, the tangible is limited to how much can either fit in a box or be carried, and digital technology now offers the potential for far greater storage and access possibilities. [That's why] we are delighted that ourbigbox.com is now launched. The team has an indefatigable passion to address this cause of social isolation and is deserving of success."
Ourbigbox.com can be accessed anywhere and can be added to by friends and family around the world. Users also have the opportunity to share the contents with other members.
The Memory Box Network will carry out sessions for families, day centres, care homes and organisations to introduce them to the new site and teach them to use it with those they care for.
For more information visit http://memoryboxnetwork.org/press/