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Ageing playfully: designing playful workshops for social interaction and happiness of people with dementia

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Abstract

Publication date31/10/2016
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Event26th Alzheimer Europe Conference: Excellence in dementia research and care - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 31/10/20162/11/2016


Conference26th Alzheimer Europe Conference
Internet address


An increasing interest in exploring how digital innovation could support dementia care has been leading research responding to e-health movements, from caregiving and medical perspectives . Not much investigation has included standpoints of the people with dementia though .
The Ageing Playfully project , offered a creative space during a series of playful workshops, where by co-designing collages and models, participants with demenia had an opportunity to catalyse imagination and social interaction, and reclaim agency in the context of their own lives. Twelve co-designers with dementia their carers, and an interdisciplinary research team took part in four workshops set up within the context of an existing AgeUK ‘circle of support’.
The workshops were led by participant preferences. For instance, themes that were received with great enthusiasm in one session were continued with in the next while the selection of materials was optimised to be inclusive for all. The succession of the workshops engaging in creative tasks, triggered enthusiasm in the participants and also led to increased interaction.
Participants as co-designers expressed enjoyment and enthusiasm when given this opportunity to engage playfully with each other in imagining and building models and stories, as well as using the models as musical instruments to play music and sing along. Their carers and support workers noted how the workshop activities seemed to encourage interaction, with even the reticent, less confident members of the group joining in with the model building.
Stimulating active, social interactions is an important and timely challenge that requires more design research attention. Using co­design as a tool to engage with people with dementia is a novel approach. People with dementia in the future can be stimulated in imagination, and social interaction through similar co­design workshops.
For this reason the project has produced a short video that recounts the workshop journey and the experience of the co-designers with dementia. Also a number of practical recommendations have been developed that can be relevant for carers and researchers working with and involving people with dementia.