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Alzheimer’s Society and Sport England partner with Social-Ability to roll out the ‘Happiness Programme’ for people living with dementia

20 May Alzheimer’s Society and Sport England partner with Social-Ability to roll out the ‘Happiness Programme’ for people living with dementia

The Alzheimer’s Society and Sport England are partnering with Social-Ability to roll out the Happiness Programme and revolutionise care for people living with dementia. The Happiness Programme is a first-of-its-kind initiative that uses interactive technology to develop activities and games for care home residents. Initially, the partnership will begin in ten care homes nationwide and participants will be invited to test out new activities, co-designed with the Alzheimer’s Society and funded by Sport England.

The new project comes as part of the Happiness Programme, developed by Social-Ability, which has already enhanced dementia care across its existing 1250+ partners in the UK, Ireland and Canada. In fact, a survey of users showed that 98% of care services experienced improvements in social and physical well being, and 89% in cognitive wellbeing. Additionally, one in six care services observed fewer falls, and one in five saw improvements in nutrition and hydration for the people they support, as a result of increased activity levels.

The project takes place in care homes across London, Sheffield, Derby, Manchester, Newcastle, and other locations, with new activities available from today. It will start with a three-month phase focusing on current Happiness Programme games. These activities utilise interactive light technology, enabling users to engage in physically and mentally engaging games like popping bubbles, playing the piano, colouring pictures, sweeping leaves as well as other activities like karaoke, bingo and quizzes. This will be followed by another three-month phase testing newly developed activities with a focus on trialling how games can encourage movement and physical activity.

The Happiness Programme offers the flexibility to be enjoyed either independently or as a group activity, and can even feature props to elevate experiences and further increase range of motion with games like balloon popping or beach ball. The portable projector used can be utilised wherever feels most comfortable, whether on the floor, ceiling, walls, whiteboard, or even the bed. This is particularly important as research from Sport England reveals that individuals with long-term health conditions like dementia are twice as likely to be inactive.

Alzheimer’s Society research also emphasises the urgent need to provide activities for individuals with dementia. Currently, approximately 900,000 people in the UK are affected by dementia, with projections indicating a rise to 1.6 million by 2040.

John Ramsay, managing director and co-founder of Social-Ability says: “We’re thrilled to partner with Alzheimer’s Society and Sport England to expand the Happiness Programme’s reach to those who truly need it. I founded Social-Ability to bring laughter and happiness to everyone facing dementia as well as for palliative care, rehabilitation, and those with learning disabilities. Working collaboratively is extremely important to us to grow the impact of Social-Ability, and we are honoured to be working alongside such a creative and experienced innovation team. We’re so excited to see the results of the project – in 2024, nobody living with dementia should be without laughter or activity.”