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social design, co-design, craft, physical interactive technologies, dementia care, personalised reminiscence, IOT, identity struggles, children in care, turning ideas into reality, sci-fi, new technologies, mental health and wellbeing, IMPACT.
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"Try to help people as much as possible that are less fortunate than yourself."
Hello Mackenzie thanks for your words about your grandmother - I completely agree that is my experience working with lots of different people over the years - music is such a powerful tool to use.Currently I see the product as a very physical product - as that's part of the design - and in our pilot families are excited that the person living with dementia can use it themselves on their own - whereas I have tried apps/digital versions before and facilitation is always needed. A key part of the design is to be accessible and a physical interface of objects - is very easy to use - 2 people on our pilot are wheelchair users and have to ask carers and family all the time for everything they need. Both of them loved being able to use something by themselves when they wanted to use it. The multi sensory part of the product is a key element too, sound, touch and sight coming together to trigger the memory recall.
In November and December we focused on evaluating our pilot of 30 boxes, and editing a video of how people living with dementia, their family carers, the care staff and care home managers used Music Memory Box and what were the benefits.
Here is a subtitled version of the case study of people living with dementia and their family carers at Deerhurst care home using the product: https://youtu.be/3NgF_wW5yDg
In this video you can see people living with dementia recalling treasured memories - you can see family reconnecting and sharing once forgotten stories. You can see the exact moment Steve reconnects with his wife by reaching out for her hand - when their love song plays - the Music Memory Box has the power to bring back the connection with the love of your life.
We have also been focusing on pitching and raising investment to put the product into manufacture. Our ideal angel investors are those with a family connection with dementia, or are interested in health care, or social entrepreneurship. Do you have any ideas @BrittanyMargot?
We have also been at a National Care Forum event for care home managers across the UK - to get early interest in pre-ordering the product. We now have 56 care home managers interested in purchasing the product ranging from 5 up to 40 units each. Interestingly from our pilot so far, care homes and families are most interested in doing joint purchases for the product. 50% care home, 50% family.
Here is a quote from a daughter from our pilot that has been using the box with her father: "Music Memory Box has become a great thing to enjoy together and with other family members. We now listen to it on most visits. It nearly always brightens Dad's mood. His speech also often gets more fluent as he recalls memories and stories. It also helps ease the transition when I leave - it gives him something to focus on. The box has provided a focal point for visits and conversations. We've listened and used it much more than we would use his CD player, because it's fun and visual - and even encourages movement. Because of Dad's vascular dementia, he sometimes (often) has difficulty remembering exactly where he is (though he knows when prompted). Moving out of the house he had lived in for 47 years was a huge change, just at a time when his cognitive difficulties mean he needs all the familiarity he can get to retain his sense of who he is and where he is. Being with family and close friends does that for him but the music box also helps. It gives him access to memories and particular pleasures that really support his mood, wellbeing and sense of self. The Music Memory Box has also shown me that while he increasingly struggles for words, his understanding is still very much intact!"
In this pilot of 6 boxes being used for two months 100% of the family carers said that the product both improved quality of life for themselves as well as the person living with dementia.
I'd love to hear what people think about the video. We are recording family members soon to get their perspective on video too.
Thanks for your comments. Great to hear from you. I'll update the submission with some photos of our most recent boxes so you can have more of a closer look at them.
1) The material choice is synthetic leathers of different colours covering the box, The leathers are soft to touch, but also durable. 2) The box is very light and can be lifted very easily. However the box does have edges - we haven't had any feedback yet from families or care homes that this has been an issue. If we wanted to make the edges curved, we would have to change the manufacturing process, therefore increasing our initial tooling costs.
Do you know about manufacturing processes? We are currently using our method as the initial tooling costs are low, rather than for example tooling for injection moulding, and creating them out of plastic. Any advice on this would be interesting.
3) Colours - Already covered with the colour choices - it's interesting as some people with dementia we've worked with, actively dislike bright colours.
4) Yes agreed - that's why there is a speaker on the front of the box, it makes music - people often think it is a music player - which it is - but it is also a 'shoebox' for objects and treasures, that's why it's inspired from a shoebox. Is that what you meant?
Let me know what you think once you've seen the more up close images of our latest prototypes!