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Mentian: Developing design fiction for dementia policy

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Abstract

Acknowledging the challenges placed on healthcare by an ageing population, governments around the world are introducing policies on ageing and age-related illnesses. As emergent technologies and the UK government’s policies mix and shape our futures there are numerous potential consequences and implications for people living with dementia, their carers, families and society at large. The ‘What If?’ project investigated the use of participatory design fictions to explore the future implications of UK dementia policy. A series of codesign workshops were conducted in the UK. The authors facilitated the workshops; participants included staff from a Voluntary Sector Organisation (VSO), a group of older people assembled by the Voluntary Sector Organisation in the Northwest, and another group assembled by a community organisation. In this paper, we present the design fiction, Mentian, conceived by a participant group, the process employed in its making and offer a discussion of participant ownership of the process and the application of design fiction as a method for policy debate. Finally, we identify areas for future research.