A new Facebook app, released by Alzheimer’s Research UK, has been designed to personalize and simulate what it would be like to have dementia. The app, called FaceDementia, temporarily takes information from the person’s Facebook profile page, such as user’s photos, liked pages, statuses and highlights the key details of their life.
Once the app has taken control of the user’s Facebook profile, it directs the attention to symptoms of dementia and at the same time, causes some of the Facebook feature to disappear. After the experience has completed, the user’s profile turns back to normal.
When asked why use Facebook, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK Rebecca Wood said, “Facebook’s appeal is that it can gather your friends and family and keep them close, with memories and contacts all contained within one space. … We wanted to use these Facebook features to illustrate how those thoughts and memories can be confused, or forgotten altogether.”
In addition, the app lets users listen to what people affected with dementia have to say, detailing how dementia affected them and their loved ones. The app was created to bring awareness to dementia.
Wood says, “Stigma around dementia is due in part to a lack of public awareness and understanding, so FaceDementia will be invaluable in helping people better understand the condition. We hope people will help spread the word by taking part at www.facedementia.org then sharing with their friends and family on Facebook.”
One video featured on the app features singer-songwriter Rupert Stroud, from Ilkley, near Leeds, whose grandmother Eileen died with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009. “It’s so important to try and get the message out there to everyone. Whether or not you’ve been touched by Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, everyone needs to understand just how tragic it is.”