• Qualitatively exploring the suitability of tablet computers to encourage participation with activities by people with moderate stage dementia

      Smith, S.K.; Mountain, Gail; Hawkins, R.J. (2018)
      Introduction: Opportunities to participate with enjoyable activities is one of the most frequently reported unmet needs by the person living with dementia. Enabling and intuitive technologies may offer accessible ways to engage with such activities. Objectives: To explore how tablet computers might encourage participation in enjoyable activities by people with moderate levels of dementia and to consider how such technologies might be incorporated into the repertoire of activities currently provided through day care settings. Methods: A focused visual ethnographic approach was developed specifically to meet the research objectives. Twelve participants attending a community day care centre and nine supporters (both volunteers and paid staff) consented to take part in the research. Technology facilitated group activity sessions took place twice a week for a period of four weeks and all were video recorded. Findings: Video analysis demonstrated that the majority of people with dementia found the technology an effective means of participating in enjoyable activities. Analysis also revealed the extent to which participation relies on the existence of effective support. It showed how maintaining focus on retained strengths and abilities enabled the group overall to meet and often exceed their own and others perceived capacity to participate. Finally, analysis confirmed the importance of enjoyment of activities ‘in the moment’ and the need for those supporting people in the moderate stages of dementia to acknowledge and work with this. Conclusion: The use of tablet computers to enhance participation in sociable and enjoyable activities in day care settings is realistic and achievable if supported appropriately.