A project co-ordinated by the University of Leicester that could help older people to retain an interest in the wider world and broaden their social links will be on display at Care Expo at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, West Midlands on 13 and 14 June 2001.
Funded by the EU, the Silver Bird project uses global digital networks to provide elderly people with six sound channels. The combination of quizzes, stories, spiritual discussions, music, news and keep-fit exercises are designed to improve physical mobility, mental agility and connectedness with friends, relatives and the outside world.
Silver Bird has been developed by Audio Riders, of Helsinki, Finland. A consortium of four partners are involved in the research, including the Department of Psychology at the University of Leicester (United Kingdom), who have a long record of research on how sounds can influence emotions and behaviour.
Finnish, Swedish, English and Hindi versions of Silver Bird, with native speakers of these languages will be piloted. A field trial has been running for one month with Miinan Hoitolat care homes in Finland, and a UK pilot is about to start, with the co-operation of The Anchor Trust, a major provider of housing and care for older people.
Dr Adrian North, of the University's Department of Psychology said: The preliminary findings so far show that the major benefit of Silver Bird is its social effect. The benefits, in turn, have knock-on pastoral and financial implications for care homes. When the well-being of their residents has been improved they become healthier and happier.
More information on Silver Bird can be found at Care Expo on 13 and 14 June 2001, at the National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry Road, Bickenhall, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 0EJ, website www.careexpo/co.uk and www.audioriders.fi
Note to editors: Further information is available from Dr Adrian North, University of Leicester Psychology Department, tel +44 (0)116 252 2175, mobile c/o Arvo Laitinen 0035 8400 457 909, email email@example.com
Sound Vitamins is a European project launched in the framework of the eContent programme. Its website is http://www.cordis.lu/econtent
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