One of the biggest challenges of dementia is memory loss, and it can have a profound impact on the daily lives of individuals and their family members. Whether that be remembering who your family members are, making a meal and remembering to eat it, or forgetting that you put the bath taps on.
As technology is rapidly growing we’re now finding easier and less intrusive ways to use life logging in our daily lives. One type of life logging is the wearing of small portable cameras, for example in a necklace pendant, which automatically takes a photo every 30 seconds and stores it for viewing later on.
This might seem like a breach of privacy if your often walking around public places and taking photos of people without their consent. However for people with dementia this has real potential for improving memory.
Memory banking is the process of recording memories of every day life in this way, in the hope that you can look back at them and be able to recall the events of the day.
When people with dementia use life logging devices, like the popular narrative clip, researchers have found that if you take a selection of the photos and show them to the person, they can be used as a cue to trigger the persons memory, helping them to recall the events relating to that photo. They can still recall these events some weeks after they happened.
The memories that we can try to recall are vast, for example trying to get a person to recall seeing a family member last week, recalling how they cooked their food, or what the doctor said to them.
Using life logging devices looks promising for the purpose of memory recall, but more research is needed to determine how this affects our memory on a long term basis, and whether we would be able to recall events without photographic cues after a period of using camera based life logging.
Faye Prior (Researcher)
Life Logging Memory Appliance for People with Episodic Memory Impairment. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mllee/docs/p44-lee.pdf