Dementia affects an increasing number of people all over the world. For people with dementia, participating in social interactions may become increasingly challenging with the progression of the condition. They develop communication difficulties, which make them tend to withdraw from social contacts. This while social contact is vital for all of us. Nowadays, social interactions are increasingly dependent on the use of communication technologies, such as phones. The use of these technologies by people with dementia decreases as cognitive impairments increases. These are not tailored to their abilities and therefore not accessible anymore. How can we make these kinds of technologies accessible again for people with dementia?
The LivingMoments device offers a service system that makes communication between people with dementia and their loved ones more tangible and enables a personal way of keeping in touch. By offering cues/prompts in the form of a (digital) postcard, they are triggered to engage in social contact with their relatives. Their social circle (e.g., family members) can send media-messages to the person with dementia and partner via a simple mobile application. After receiving a postcard, they can display the personal and vibrant content in the LivingMoments system. People with dementia can then respond through the device at a level that suits them. The LivingMoments system contains 4 buttons, with which the person with dementia can easily respond to the received postcard. Besides, they can actively use it when friends or family are visiting as a prompt during conversations. Living Moments supports people with dementia in their ability to participate in social interactions and gives them back control over their own social life. www.livingmoments.nl
Even though the very nature of dementia signals a gradual loss of cognitive and physical abilities, instead, and more importantly, it signals the birth of a new person that is able to contribute to interactions in the present world. Despite the diversity within and between individuals, LivingMoments ensures equal access to an engaging social technology and provides a high quality experience for people living with dementia. In addition to this target group, it also offers opportunities for broader employability. Lonely older adults who have difficulty with modern technology can also benefit from LivingMoments. But it also offers opportunities for hospitals where LivingMoments delivers postcards directly to the patients.