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The Longitude Prize on Dementia

The Longitude Prize on Dementia


“Dementia is not a natural part of getting older. Dementia is caused by different diseases that affect the brain, which mainly affects people over the age of 65. It is a group of symptoms that often get worse over time and include:

  • memory loss
  • confusion
  • problems with words, language, and comprehension
  • changing behaviours and a need for assistance in everyday living.

Around 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia. The condition devastates lives, causing people a series of losses – of memories, relationships, and identity. That number is predicted to increase to 153 million by 2050. The chances of developing dementia increase with age:

  • 1 in 19 people younger than 65
  • 1 in 12 people aged over 65
  • 1 in 6 people aged over 80

Crisis points

Cognitive loss can cause a decline in independence, social interactions, and the ability to achieve fundamental daily activities. These not only create frustration but have a large impact and increase on their changing needs, such as assistance with their care needs, hospitalisation or entry into care homes.

Dementia progresses over time and can impact many different parts of the brain in different ways, people affected have highly varied needs that can also change over time. This makes it very difficult to offer the kind of tailored, appropriate support that can enable people to continue living at home and doing the things they love.

Beyond the typical associations with memory loss, dementia can affect many different parts of the brain and its effects are therefore highly individual. For some people, one of the first symptoms of dementia is difficulty with speech and word finding, which can have a significant impact on their ability to express themselves and communicate with others (expressive and receptive aphasia). Others may struggle with sensory issues and find themselves easily overwhelmed by auditory and visual stimuli.

People with dementia want to retain their independence

Unfortunately, this journey is often characterised by a series of losses – in abilities, independence, choice and autonomy. Many people with dementia would like to retain their independence, both to reduce the burden on their loved ones and carers and to retain their own dignity and sense of self. In the absence of a cure, we know that more innovative approaches are needed to help promote independence and maximise quality of life.

People can still live well

It’s important to try to stay positive. Despite its challenges, people with dementia can live fulfilling lives and don’t have to stop doing the things they love. There is practical and helpful support out there for people living with the disease and their friends and family.

About the Longitude Prize on Dementia

The Longitude Prize on Dementia called on innovators around the world to develop digital solutions that support people with dementia to remain independent for as long as possible.

The Longitude Prize on Dementia will be awarded to the creator of a breakthrough technology that learns from a person living with dementia, adapting and compensating for their condition as it progresses, and enabling them to continue living independently for longer.

The winning solution will be a digital device or service designed for use by people living with dementia as the primary users. It must be able to demonstrate a transformational improvement in the lives of users, helping them to retain independence in one or more of the areas that contribute to their well-being and quality of life, including essential activities of daily living, communication and social interactions; and other activities that enable them to lead a fulfilling life doing things they enjoy.

Using advances in science and technology, such as AI and applications of big data, the winning innovation will be tailored to individual users and adapt to their changing needs over a sustained period of time. These technologies must be empowering for the user, overcoming existing ethics, design, and technology challenges to develop a solution that is easy and enjoyable to use for people living with dementia as they transition through some of the pivotal transition points along the journey through the early to mid stages of dementia.

The initial entry took place from 26 September 2022 to 26 January 2023. Supported by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), finalists will participate in an independent study to evaluate the effects of their technologies on the lives of people affected by dementia. The evaluation will look at the processes of co-design and innovation.

From smart gloves to games: 175 brilliant ideas entered the prize, with solutions from every continent in the world. Solutions entered ranged from:

* Smart wearables, such as smart glasses to aid memory recollection through story-telling and facial recognition;
* Cognitive interventions, such as virtual reality games with reminiscing opportunities;
* Home and physical aides, such as artificial intelligent chat companions.

More than 50% of applications came from businesses whilst 18% stemmed from academic institutions and universities. Applications are now undergoing assessment.”

We are excited to announce that Shire is one of the three entries from South Africa with our Shire App. The concept of the App is to facilitate communication between

  • Employers,
  • Employees,
  • Clients and Family of Clients in the Retirement Sector.

The entry to the prize envisages a means to assist those living with dementia to remain independent for longer, by improving the understanding of their routines and by upskilling Careworkers specifically for their clients through an e-learning platform that is part of the App.



Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll!

Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll!

Brigit Grant From Jewish News, wrote on July 12, 2020, 6:32 pm:

“Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll! Care home residents recreate iconic album covers

Sydmar Lodge residents in Edgware pay homage to classic albums by artists including Madonna, Adele, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen.

When activities co-ordinator Robert Speker, decided to recreate album covers with the residents at Sydmar Lodge in Mill Hill, he had no idea his photographs would go viral in hours and create a media frenzy.

Robert, 41, who has worked at the care home for five years was at work on Sunday when TV and radio stations started calling to ask him about the project which features the home’s Jewish residents replicating the cover poses of artists such as Madonna, Adele, Bruce Springsteen and Rag ‘n Bone man.

Robert, who previously worked at Kisharon was featured in Jewish News when he took resident Shelia Solomons to see Rag ‘n Bone Man and Shelia, who appears in the album collection as Rag ‘n Bone Man complete with tattoos painted on by Robert and as bassist Paul Simonon in The Clash’s album London Calling.

Born and raised in Newcastle, Robert who has been working through lock-down, almost missed the birth of his third daughter, Olivia on June 25 when his wife Aya went into labour while he was at the care home taking the final shot of Hilda for the Blink 182 cover. “My wife is very, very understanding,” says Robert who is always coming up with new ways to entertain the residents.

“I have taken them to the Ritz for tea and I am thinking of ways to get them an outing to a casino. A few weeks ago I hosted a 100th birthday for a resident with her family on Zoom. It was wonderful but sad because she should have had the party she deserved.” With plans to come up with more ways to make the residents happy, Robert set up a go fund me page.

“I did the project to make them happy and I think the models’ families have enjoyed it, with even grandchildren posting about their grandparents, but the risks of Covid means they could be in lock-down for a long time and I want to make it a good time.”

Since posting the covers on Facebook, Robert has been contacted by news agencies across the globe and will appear on BBC News in the morning, CNN and Channel 5 tomorrow. “Then it’s back to Sydmar Lodge to think of ways to keep the residents uplifted.”

To view the album collection, click here.

Shire is proud to provide a range of quality,  independent, personalised services to the retirement market – We look forward to being of service to you. To contact us, click here.

Search dogs being trained to hunt down dementia patients who go missing

Search dogs being trained to hunt down dementia patients who go missing

The Daily Mirror‘s Danny Buckland wrote on 2 March 2020:

Lowland Rescue in Swindon, Wiltshire, is training dogs as part of the Search Dog Heroes initiative, which will help the relatives of dementia patients.

Roo, pictured with handler Jo Armstrong, recently became the first dog in the UK to be trained (Image: North Downs Picture Agency)

Search dogs are being trained to track down dementia patients who go missing as part of a £1million scheme.

Around 100 are involved in the Search Dog Heroes initiative to help police, relatives and care workers bring vulnerable people back to safety.

The dogs are schooled for a year to 18 months and work with their owners, who are skilled handlers.

The first active search dog, Roo the labrador-springer spaniel, has already found a dementia patient who went missing from a care home in Berkshire.

The five-year-old and her owner Jo Armstrong, a volunteer with the Lowland Rescue service that is training the dogs, responded to the missing person’s scent that had been previously collected as a precaution.

Jane Brown of the Missing People charity said: “The dogs will be a great resource. Loved ones can be found quickly and returned home safely. The dog can be any breed. The important thing is their natural ability and enthusiasm.”

The scheme, funded by People’s Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund, supplies kits for relatives and care staff to take scent samples from the hands on a sterile gauze that can be stored in a jar for up to a year.

Ms Brown added: “It’s a simple, non-invasive process. For the vast majority of people, it will never be used but it can be vital in emergencies and can also provide peace of mind for relatives.”

Missing People chief Jo Youle said: “These dogs will help save lives.”

Around 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia and the numbers are projected to increase to 1.6 million by 2040, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Two dogs have been trained so far  but up to 100 will be deployed nationally over the year in a free service.

To continue reading the article, click here.

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd (Shire) is based in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and specialises in the provision of a range of services focused exclusively on the retirement industry. To read more about our services, click here.