Offering ways for care staff to interact with their residents

During my Master, I was delighted to be granted the opportunity to go to the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to complete a research project. I was part of the Materialising Memories research programme, which aims to research how design could support remembering practices. 

For my research project, I focused on how to support care staff to provide meaningful interactions for people with dementia through digital and/or physical media. 

After a context observation, I was able to identify opportunities for care staff to engage with their residents. Care practitioners were invited to a creative workshop, in which they made various prototypes that represented suitable ways for them to engage with people with dementia. 

Prototypes made during the creative workshop

Then, the multisensory media album was designed. It utilizes music, pictures, and textiles for care staff to interact with residents. After deployment in the field, the design provided insights in how dementia care staff were able to offer a multisensorial reminiscing activity for their residents, which was observed to be enjoyed by both.

Pages in the Multisensory Media Album

Participant interacting with a resident

My observations, interviews and personal experiences within the dementia care space have contributed to an even better understanding of the space. In addition, I learned more about the organizational structure and the relations different staff members have. 

Also, the overall experience of doing a research project in a complete new environment, meeting new people, and living on my own was great. Being able to have done this has not only been beneficial for my professional development, but also for my personal development. 

The paper written about this research has been accepted for the Dementia Lab 2021 conference, and will be published in January.