Dementia Facebook app to raise awareness

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A new app has been launched on Facebook by a UK charity in a bid to promote awareness of dementia.

The FaceDementia app was launched by Alzheimer’s Research UK and is designed to simulate the symptoms of dementia by the use of photos of the profile of a Facebook user. The app alters text from the user’s profile and fades images to show how dementia affects a person’s brain.

The Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, Rebecca Wood, said that the appeal of using Facebook is that it can gather family and friends and keep them close, offering contacts and memories within a single space. It helps in developing a diary of your life from the time you join the site and documents your musings and thoughts throughout this period. The organisation wanted to make use of the features of Facebook to demonstrate how the memories and thoughts can become confused or can be forgotten completely as so many hundreds of thousands of people across the UK experience if they suffer with dementia.

The app requests that users log in to their Facebook account, and then uses parts of the user’s profile, animates it to show a short film related to the disease. The images start to fade and the text becomes scrambled to indicate the memory loss that is one of the most common symptoms of the disease.

The charity has revealed figures which indicate that in excess of 800,000 people currently suffer from dementia in the UK. They have stated that the popularity of social media is what makes it the perfect platform on which to raise global awareness of the disease.

Ms Wood said that the charity funds dementia research in the UK, but are also determined to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. She stated that the stigma attached to dementia can be attributed partly to a lack of public understanding and awareness, so the app that they have launched will aid in allowing people to understand the disease.

The charity hopes that people will spread the word and share with their family and friends.

One of the app’s videos includes Rupert Stroud, a singer-songwriter from Ilkley near Leeds, whose grandmother who died in 2009, suffered from Alzheimer’s. He said that his grandmother was the kindest, sweetest person you could hope to meet. He thinks that the most heartbreaking aspect of dementia is that it strips the person you love of their character.

Mr Stroud has stated that it is important that the message is spread, regardless of whether Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia has touched your life – everyone should be aware of the tragedy linked to the disease.

Image Credit: Ed Yourdon

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