UK COMPANY LAUNCHES WORLD’S FIRST ENTERTAINMENT DVD FOR PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA
UK company, Recognii, has launched the world’s first entertainment DVD created especially for people living with dementia.
‘Treasure Box’ is a carefully constructed blend of fun, uplifting and visually engaging short clips, all set to some of the nation’s best-loved music, songs and theme tunes.
From gentle humour, children and animals, to musical interaction, the natural world, puppetry, iconic imagery and more, each scene has been designed to capture short attention spans and specially adapted to overcome the common visual problems associated with the condition.
Recognii is the brainchild of Sarah Harrison from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, who identified an urgent need for the product when her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2014.
She said: “As the illness progressed dad was unable to follow his favourite television programmes or participate in family activities and conversation. He quickly became very isolated and desperately needed a way to re-engage with the world. I searched online and was surprised by the complete lack of visual entertainment for people with dementia. I just wanted to hear him laugh again.”
Sarah joined forces with national health journalist Fiona Wright and award-winning filmmaker Katie Greenhalf, and the team spent the next two years developing and testing the concept, discovering many common themes in the type of content typically enjoyed by people living with moderate to late-stage dementia.
Fiona said: “Studies have found that music and positive experiences from earlier life are stored in the ‘emotional memory’ which often remains intact for longer. ‘Treasure Box’ is based on the sort of gentle, non-threatening and uplifting content our own research suggests has universal appeal among dementia sufferers; especially the simple pleasures that come from singing and interaction with happy children, animals and the natural world.”
To accommodate the visual processing problems experienced by many people with dementia the team also took a special approach to the way the content was filmed.
Recognii production editor, Katie Greenhalf explained: “To make everything as visible as possible we filmed against plain backgrounds, with high colour and tonal contrast and predominant use of red and those primary colours we know are most easily recognised. We also took care not to feature too many busy patterns, shadows or reflective light sources.”
The scenes typically last just 30-90 seconds, with each one contrasting strongly from the last to draw wandering attention back to the screen. In keeping with the visual approach, music and vocal arrangements are simple and dialogue is kept to a minimum.
The main film is over an hour in length and the DVD also has four bonus features with multiple applications for viewers and carers. These include a 30-minute interactive singalong, a relaxing multi-sensory booth to help reduce anxiety and a ‘Stars of The Silver Screen’ montage to prompt conversation and reminiscence.
‘Treasure Box’ is available through the company’s website (www.recognii.co.uk) and other online retailers, with production already underway for a second in the series. It is available on USB format for use with smart television and licensing agreements are offered to care homes wishing to use the DVD with residents.
Sarah said: “We hope ‘Treasure Box’ will bring joy to many people living in the later stages of dementia as well as providing useful respite for carers, who can relax in the knowledge their loved one is being safely entertained.
In the future the company intends to extend the Recognii range to include content aimed at specific interests and age-profiles, as well as making it available online.
For further information visit the website at www.recognii.co.uk or contact Sarah Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or Fiona Wright at email@example.com