Conversations at the edge of play: media, communication and cultural intersections with dementia
2019-07-10T07:32:47Z (GMT) by
The mean age of the global population is increasing significantly. Incidences of dementia are also predicted to rise and this will impact society as a whole as well as individuals, who will find they are primary carers for one or more family members with the disease. Dementia carries a stigma and is not openly discussed. Discourse continues to be led by bio-medical approaches that focus on the need to ‘fight’ the disease and often leaves individuals feeling ill-prepared and powerless to act. This paper reports on an innovative approach that engages with material culture production; it uses textiles as media to encourage people to share their personal experiences of dementia. The pilot project involved the general public in the making of bespoke sensory objects to promote ‘in the moment pleasure’ for people with later stage dementia, while facilitating an exchange of information about dementia both formally and informally with participants engaged in the making process. The study found that while participants’ individual knowledge and understanding of dementia varied significantly, each participant was able to contribute, share their knowledge and become empowered through activity.