It is Halloween season and along with pumpkin spice, that typically means a big build up to scary movies and frightening events. I’m not a big fan because I simply don’t enjoy jumping out of my seat or peeking through my fingers . Although I don’t like scary things, I am a huge fan of film and enjoy the way they help me experience characters' lives and emotions and bring me along. I really get into them and they make me laugh, cry, and dream.
I feel very in control of my viewing experience because I can choose to not watch or even get up and turn the channel or turn it off. One thing I hadn’t thought about, until I met Bill Uniowski and Allyson Schrier with Zinnia TV, is how television and movies are so ubiquitous in our lives that we might forget how difficult it might be to process the content if we have dementia, Alzheimer’s, or a brain injury.
Allyson and her team were inspired to develop videos and content especially for people with dementia, Alzheimer’s and brain injuries when they noticed family members having a difficult time understanding the content or event relating to it. Zinnia TV videos are slower paced and come with an educational guide that gives suggestions about using them as part of an interactive, caring connection.
Now used by both families and partners caring for loved ones at home as well as in care homes, Zinnia TV provides a way for people managing brain changes to stay engaged with those around them.
Alaska Startup Week is coming November 8th- 12th this year and is a huge opportunity to connect with bright, innovative people trying to build a new idea or solve a problem. As part of a Techstars Startup Weekend in April 2020, Health TIE met Bill Uniowski with Zinnia TV. As a result, he and his co-founder, Allyson Schrier presented to Health TIE stakeholders in September.
Health TIE subsequently connected them to the Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska and they were mentioned in the A Call for Action: Alaska's 10-year Map to Address Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia (https://alaskamentalhealthtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/A-Call-To-Action-Alzheimers-Disease-Related-Dementia-10-Year-Map.pdf). Building on those connections, Zinnia TV is now working with a care home in Galena to develop videos with themes and content especially for Alaska Native and American Indian elders.
Zinnia TV is now making a difference in the lives of Alaskan families and it all starts with coming together, being inspired, and supporting and growing new ideas.