Delivering positive reminiscence through a ubiquitous device application designed for people living with dementia and their care-givers

  • Claire Ancient

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Dementia is a progressive condition which is synonymous with cognitive decline. In the UK, it is estimated that the number of people living with the condition is 800,000, a figure which is anticipated to rise above 1 million people before 2021. Symptoms of dementia include short-term memory loss,
communication problems and difficulties with reasoning. In addition to these symptoms, many people living with dementia experience neuropsychiatric symptoms, including depression and apathy. Positive reminiscence is a non-pharmacological intervention which has the potential to improve the happiness of people living with dementia. Reminiscence utilises prompts, such as music and photographs, to evoke the long-term memories of the person with dementia, a capacity which is the last to be affected by the condition. Generally, reminiscence uses generic prompts, however, there is research suggesting that personalised memories lead to greater engagement in the activity. This research uses a mixed methods approach to develop a theory-based reminiscence program which can be implemented on a tablet computer and evaluate the potential for it to be accepted by people living with dementia and their care-givers. An initial study within this project found that personalised memories which use photographs, stories and music as stimuli are effective at evoking positive emotions in people over the age of 50. The research then develops a set of guidelines which can be used to design technology interaction to ensure that it is dementia friendly. Further research used these two areas of theory which have been developed to design and implement an application to facilitate the reminiscence program. The acceptance this application is then qualitatively assessed using people living with dementia and their informal care-givers. Results suggest there is the potential for the tablet application to be accepted by the target user group. This thesis makes a number of contributions to knowledge including the most
effective types of stimuli and memories to evoke positive emotions, guidelines for dementia friendly technology interaction, and the potential for the theory-based reminiscence program implemented on a tablet computer to be accepted by people living with dementia and their care-givers.
Date of AwardFeb 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorAlice Good (Supervisor), Clare Wilson (Supervisor) & Tineke Fitch (Supervisor)

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