Beating dementia with bikes

  • A start-up tech company, Motitech UK, is motivating older people and those living with dementia to be physically and mentally healthy by cycling in familiar places.

    The technology is called Motiview, and involves a person cycling on an exercise bike which is attached to a flatscreen TV.

    While the person pedals, the screen flashes up and can show a library of locations; users can choose to cycle through places that truly mean something to them – their hometown, places from past holidays, childhood memories, somewhere special to them and their partner, or faraway lands they’ve always wanted to visit.

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    Created by engineers in Norway, it allows elderly people to go on virtual cycling trips around the world from the comfort of their home. 

    Anne from Mudeford, England, is 77 and in the early stages of dementia. She struggles to communicate like she used to, but as soon as she sits on the bike in the activity room of her care home, the Sunrise in Winchester; she comes out of her shell.

    “When I met Anne, she was a very, very scared lady,” said Zoe Prince, an activities assistant at Sunrise. “Leaving her home to come into this completely new environment was difficult for her. She was very reserved, not great at making friends, very quiet. But as soon as she got on the bike, it was like seeing a different person."

    Partnered with Motitech and leading the way in support for dementia-beating technology is the insurance firm AXA.

    As well as training up its workforce to be Dementia Friends, AXA dedicated an entire category to ‘Innovation in Early Diagnosis of Dementia‘ at its annual Health Tech & You Awards in May 2019. The firm’s mental health lead, Eugene Farrell, explained:

    “What we are trying to do is help people live better lives. And by looking at innovations in technology, we think we can do that. The cycling initiative is a great piece of technology that helps people with dementia.”

    Belfast-based tech firm SSAS Solutions, which recently became part of the Mattioli Woods group, also recently announced a new partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK.

    Source: AXA/The Sunday Times (c)


    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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