Active Minds for Alzheimers

Recent research undertaken by the Department of Health and Alzheimer’s UK has shown that there is an argument for encouraging activity based approaches with dementia patients, which help them keep their mind active and reconnect with their surroundings. So, in 2009, when Ben Atkinson-Willes’ grandfather was sadly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he was encouraged to play games, his favourite quickly becoming jigsaw puzzles. However, Ben began to notice that as his grandfather began to deteriorate his ability to play games became harder and the variety of games that he could use became limited, with the carers having to resort to giving him children’s toys.

It was during this difficult time that Ben, a design student at Kingston University, realised that there was a need for age-appropriate, suitable games for dementia patients and Active Minds was born. Using his skills as a product designer and inspired by his grandfather’s love of jigsaw puzzles, Ben started creating his first range of award winning jigsaw puzzles. He needed to take into account a number of important factors when designing the game; the pieces had to be large enough and tactile enough to be used by elderly hands unaided, and to include images that would resonate with the patient. Initial tests yielded great results, with one elderly dementia patient starting to reminisce about his time in the war as he completed a puzzle with a picture of a Spitfire.

Today Active Minds is a thriving company, with a variety of specially designed games for dementia patients, including picture books and exercise DVDs. For more information visit their website www.Active-Minds.co.uk

Disabled Entrepreneurs Award

The Stelios Awards 2015 for Disabled Entrepreneurs 

Now in its ninth successful year, The Stelios Award 2015 is open for applications.
The award, jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability acknowledges entrepreneurs who have overcome disability or long-term health conditions to create and run an established business.

The successful winner will receive £50,000, the largest award of its kind. Previous winners have hailed from a variety of diverse sectors, including travel agent, home build and IT industries, as well as companies which specialise in disability/mobility aids.

The benefits of receiving this award is marked. Last year’s winner, Ben Wolfenden, founder and director of digital marketing company Visibilis (www.visibilis.co.uk) said of receiving the award, “Winning the 2014 award has meant so much to me both financially and personally. I've been able to solidify the team and our offering, grow some fantastic new clients and build a better working environment for my health.” He adds “I would urge anyone with a disability, whether you see yourself as an entrepreneur or not, to apply and let Stelios and his team decide!”

The deadline for all applications is Friday 18 September 2015.