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Social media for dementia patients

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Researchers are developing something they call "Facebook Light" with a user interface suitable for people with dementia in order to promote social interaction.

Both research and anecdotal evidence shows the importance of social contact to enable people with dementia to maintain a level of functioning for longer.

"Why should elderly people be excluded from the social media, which are the communication platform of the future?" asks Tone Oderuf, a research scientist at SINTEF. "The user interface is too advanced for very many people."

So Oderud is working on a web-based communications application which is simple enough to enable even people with dementia to use it. Her goal is to create a simpler everyday life enhancement for elderly and senile people, their relatives and personnel in the community care services to interact and share information.

They believe that social media could become an important tool which can improve the quality of life of the ever-increasing number of elderly people in society, while at the same time easing the burden of caretakers.

Contact with the outside world has a positive effect on people with dementia. It also increases the sense of security for family and friends who can have daily contact with relatives who are far away and may be physically isolated.

"The tests have shown us that there is great potential for all in the fields of caregiving and digital communication," says Oderud.

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