Finalist category: Ageing Society Award
Ageing Society Award, Finalist, 2019
Music Memory Box is a transformative digital and physical tool for people living with dementia, their families and carers.
It was created after the maker was inspired by her Great Gran, who had dementia. In their visits, it would be music that would ‘reawaken’ her, and help them to chat and bond. Later on, the creator wanted to find an accessible way for other people living with dementia to access important music and memories, as stacks of CDs can be confusing. With no cure on the horizon, families and care homes are looking for accessible simple tools to increase quality of life and help the care for people living with dementia easier and more enjoyable. Families are looking for products that help with the emotional side of dementia, helping communication and re-connection.
Music Memory Box is a physical box that you can fill together with meaningful objects, music and photographs. By placing a stick on sensor on any object, like a shell for example – you can link a song to play when you put it in the centre of the box. The music, familiar object and photograph combine together to help unlock and recall memories in a simple and tactile way even at the later stages of dementia.
Most current products on the market do not address the complexity of memories, where we pick up identity markers from. Lots of products are generic and assume that all people that were born in the 1950s have the same few songs and memories as each other. We all know this doesn’t make sense – especially as many people may have moved countries in their lives, so one song for one person can mean absolutely nothing to another. Many care homes in the UK are still playing Vera Lynn and not addressing their residents music tastes, identities, memories and lives.
The company behind Music Memory Box is Studio Meineck – a social design studio set up to create award winning innovative products in the mental health and wellbeing sector. The product, and its various prototype stages have been co-designed with people living with dementia. From feedback from the pilot, the design has been fine tuned, the interface of how to upload music has changed, as well as the colours, shape and size. Overall, it has been evaluated to reduce anxiety and confusion and to increase communication, wellbeing, sense of identity increasing quality of life for people living with a dementia.
One Memory Music Box user says: “All the clocks, all the dementia products Mum didn’t take any notice but this Music Memory Box it’s like magic – it has completely changed everything. She comes alive in an instant. In the whole experience of dementia, working with people with dementia, my Mum with dementia – this is the best tool… ever.” Daughter and professional carer for other people living with dementia.
After a successful kickstarter campaign in April – the Music Memory Box is on the market place for pre-orders, and it will be delivered in February 2020. The next steps are to develop the product for larger batch manufacturing, increase awareness of the product in the UK and overseas, and start delivering their ‘life transforming’ product.