A FERMANAGH resident is one of the faces behind a new app that will help those suffering with dementia

Professor Assumpta Ryan – a native of Co. Leitrim, but a resident of Enniskillen – is the project lead on the InspireD App.

The app enables people living with dementia, their carers and families to create a digital memory book to store photographs, videos and sounds. aimed at sparking conversations and providing opportunities to share experiences and maintain relationships.

For most people, the thought of a dementia diagnosis and the fear of losing their ability to recall treasured memories is devastating.

However, many people living with dementia have problems with their short-term memory and find it easier to remember things about their past.

Reminiscence draws on this strength by supporting people to share their life experiences, memories and stories and in doing so to maintain and build connections with other people.

Professor Ryan, Professor of Ageing and Health at Ulster University, and InspireD project lead, said: "This truly collaborative project brought together Ulster’s research expertise in nursing, computing and design with the lived experience of Dementia NI members and local app developer Scaffold Digital to create an app that has the power to enhance the lives of those living with dementia.

“Spending time with friends and family and sharing experiences and memories is something most of us enjoy, and this does not change after a dementia diagnosis.

"The InspireD app is designed to help people living with dementia to stay connected to family and friends by using photographs, sounds and videos to share memories and trigger conversations that may not otherwise have happened.”

The development of the InspireD app builds on previously published research carried out by Ulster University which investigated the impact of a personalised reminiscence programme, using an iPad app, for 60 people living with dementia, their family and carers.

The study showed that reminiscence improved mood, wellbeing, quality of life and relationships for people living with dementia.

Free to download on both Apple and Android, or from the HSC Apps4Dementia library (at https://apps4dementia.orcha.co.uk), the InspireD app enables users to peruse their personal photographs and videos and in doing so, share memories about past experiences and important life events.

Users can also add written or voice notes about photographs, music and film clips so that family, friends and carers understand why a particular memory or time is special.

This can help trigger conversations as people using the app begin to tell and hear stories that they may have never told or heard before.

All of these memories are kept in an easy-to-reach place on a smartphone or tablet.

The InspireD app was commissioned by the Health and Social Care Board NI as part of a wider Dementia eHealth and Data Analytics Pathfinder Programme.