In April 2019, British Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Heritage Board (NHB) and National Museums Liverpool at Eden Hall, to develop House of Memories, a museum-led dementia awareness training programme, in Singapore.
Conceived in the UK by National Museums Liverpool, the My House of Memories app is a digital resource which has won multiple awards including the Exceptional Achievement Award, Museums Association in 2018. It has been adapted to the needs of other countries such as the United States of America, and now, Singapore. To date, in the UK and internationally, there have been more than 33,000 downloads of the app and more than 12,500 health and social care professionals and family caregivers have received the House of Memories dementia awareness training programme.
The My House of Memories app has been designed for, and adapted to, the Singapore context which features a curated selection of 100 objects from Singapore’s National Collection and 11 addition objects from the Alzheimer's Disease Association.
The Singapore version of the My House of Memories digital app (English version) was launched on 28 September 2020, aligning with World Alzheimer's month and in the lead up to the Global Day of Older Persons.
The digital app used artefacts in the National Collection managed by NHB and is an adaptation of National Museums Liverpool’s award-winning UK programme to the Singapore context. Featuring relatable everyday items, these objects from Singapore’s National Collection are brought to life in the app through multimedia features and images. They are grouped into six key themes comprising “Festivals and Special Occasions”, “Lifestyle”, “Food and Drinks”, “Household Items”, “Jobs” and “Growing Up”.
Besides retrieving and talking about objects from the National Collection, users of the app will also get to create personal albums close to the hearts of the persons living with dementia. They can simply snap pictures of objects, people, places or even practices, and upload them to the app for easy retrieval and use. This allows caregivers to personalise the app’s contents, making them more meaningful for those under their care.
The My House of Memories app also serves as a resource that provides localised content such as information on dementia in Singapore, suggestions of activities for seniors and caregivers to engage in, and contacts for seniors living with dementia and their caregivers to reach out to.
The My House of Memories app can be downloaded for free via the App Store and Google Play Store. To reach out to more seniors, the content on the My House of Memories app will be translated into Singapore’s official languages in its second phase next year, and the Mandarin, Malay and Tamil versions will be progressively made available for Singaporeans to download and use.
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Singapore
Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law, Singapore, said: “Our cultural heritage has the power to connect all of us as Singaporeans. We should harness this rich heritage, not least to help vulnerable segments of society connect with others and uplift their spirits. I am excited that this new app creatively uses our arts and heritage to invoke memories which will encourage interactions between persons with dementia and their caregivers. I am also heartened that the development of this app is the result of close cultural ties between Singapore and the UK, one of our longstanding and active partners in the arts and culture sector, and across the breadth of our bilateral relationship. I look forward to more of such meaningful collaborations that contribute to the wellbeing of our communities.”
Department of Health and Social Care, United Kingdom
Innovation minister Lord Bethell said: “Technology can be a huge force for good and this unprecedented public health emergency has shown how vital it is that we continue to harness its full potential in order to adapt and transform healthcare services. This is a brilliant example of homegrown innovation and I’m sure the app will make a real difference to many older people who may be struggling with the isolation and uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic has caused.”