Friday 9 June 2017, 15:56 | By

In the news June 2017: His Master’s Voice

CSL In The News

In the news June 2017

With so much going on in the world of the Agile Ageing Alliance, CSL will be taking a little time to help support ambitions to develop it further. As such, we’ll be sharing more AAA news here on CSL, in addition to stories about those finding new and creative ways to help people with life limiting and long-term conditions.

What’s the Weather Like Outside?

We’ll start this month’s news with this light-hearted sketch from the Saturday Night Live show. SNL has been hitting a lot of headlines of late with their commentary on the US presidency, but this recent video got our attention as reimagined how the voice-controlled Amazon Echo device might be tweaked to better serve older users.

Admittedly it is a little patronising, but once you’ve seen it take a moment to think about the devices that are being developed to help people live independently for longer. For example, ElliQ is as this article explains; “…an “active aging companion, [and] it looks like a combination of an Android tablet, a digital assistant like Alexa or Siri, and software designed to help the elderly connect with friends and family”. But what makes ElliQ unique, the article continues, “is the robot component: an attached bobble head-esque animatronic that provides a physical, moving manifestation of the digital assistant”.

What we found particularly interesting was that home devices like this are being developed to learn about the people using them. And through this learning they could help address things like physical health (by encouraging users to do suitable exercise), or cognitive issues such as dementia – as seen with their capacity to remember the names of users’ loved ones or play a favourite song by requesting just that.

Music’s power to positively impact our lives, almost immediately, leads us to our next article which focuses on the potential for personal music playlists to reduce medication use for those with dementia.

Play it Again Sam

In this recent article we learnt that; “Nursing home residents with dementia who listen to a personalized music playlist may need less psychotropic medication and have improved behaviour, a recent study suggests”.

The findings come after researchers implemented an individualized program called Music and Memory “in 98 nursing homes with a total of about 13,000 residents with Alzheimer’s disease or non-Alzheimer’s dementia”, which resulted in “greater improvements in residents’ behavior” as well as “reduced dementia-related behavioral problems”.

Now we do write quite regularly about the positive impact of music on the lives of those with dementia, and indeed all of us for that matter, but we continue to welcome research like this as it strengthens the argument for decision makers to legislate for its use in addition to prescribed medicine.

Speaking of research-backed initiatives creatively changing lives, we saw a couple of really inspiring stories this month around Mental Health Awareness Week.

Just Tattoo of Us

This article introduced us to ‘The Art of a Peaceful Mind’, a colouring book “comprising illustrations from young artists to visually represent the ways they relax and use self-care.” According to PAPYRUS, the national charity for the prevention of young suicide, “the book aims to raise awareness of the help available to young people feeling overwhelmed and suicidal”.

We think it’s great because anything that helps stimulate the creative potential within someone who benefits physically or mentally has to be good. And this can come in many surprising ways. Like getting a tattoo perhaps…

OK they might be temporary, but as we learnt from this recent article, artist Francesca Timbers has designed a series of temporary tattoos to help people struggling with their mental health and to stop them self-harming, after her own ill health left her feeling suicidal.

It may only seem like a small gesture, but as a 2011 study found temporary tattoos have been found to help as a “method of discussing and altering self-harm behaviours and countering negative body image”. Studies which Timbers says she has used to influence her work and designs.

We wish Francesca well, and indeed all those coming up with new and creative ways to help people manage or overcome life limiting or long-term conditions. And as CSL continues its work, while supporting the Agile Ageing Alliance with its ambitions, we look forward to sharing the many stories we find on our travels.

That’s it for this month. Do make sure to check out CSL’s regular tweets and indeed the AAA’s – because with so much going on right now we’re really excited about what comes next.

Image use with permission: Copyright