The NNA Development Officer was delighted to find out about research taking place Northumbria University and sponsored by Microsoft Research in Cambridge for people living with dementia in a care setting.
This design project explores the ways in which digital technology might provide a means of connecting those with dementia in the care home to places that are meaningful to them. A host of research in disciplines such as Gerontology and Social Geography demonstrate the important role that homes and neighbourhoods play in supporting an older persons biography, identity and sense of self, all of which may be undermined by dementia and the confusion caused by a move to the care home. Furthermore, places that people have spent all their lives can act as important anchor points to memories, thus supporting communication. This project therefore looks at how we might provide a continued digital connection with special places people went to in the past. This could be achieved by creating enjoyable and accessible ways of sharing and reminiscing about experiences of these personal places, or by making personal artefacts that transfer cues from past environments into the care home.
An initial prototype, Paper Street View (Shown Above), has been designed to enable groups and individuals to navigate Street View images using a paper map, a physical marker and an accompanying compass. This has been designed to be accessible for people who are not familiar, or able to use more complex technologies.
NNA will keep in touch with Tommy Dykes, the PhD researcher to let you know what else might help in the future.
Tommy Dykes website can be found on this link