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‘Rekindling couplehood’ using a multisensory suitcase of memories: a pilot study of people living with moderate dementia and their partners

Jane Mullins, Andrea Tales Orcid Logo, Charles Musselwhite Orcid Logo, Nicholas Rich Orcid Logo

Ageing and Society, Pages: 1 - 19

Swansea University Authors: Jane Mullins, Andrea Tales Orcid Logo, Charles Musselwhite Orcid Logo, Nicholas Rich Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Creating individualised activities in partnership with people who have moderate dementia and their partners at home has rarely been achieved, as such interventions are usually pre planned and prepared by researchers or professionals. The academic gap is in the activity design being led by the person...

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Published in: Ageing and Society
ISSN: 0144-686X 1469-1779
Published: Cambridge University Press (CUP) 2022
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa58930
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Abstract: Creating individualised activities in partnership with people who have moderate dementia and their partners at home has rarely been achieved, as such interventions are usually pre planned and prepared by researchers or professionals. The academic gap is in the activity design being led by the person who has dementia and their partner and how to pragmatically engage them in a meaningful manner which rekindles positive joint memories and improves the quality of their current relationship. This explores the meaning and significance of recalling holiday memories for people living with moderate dementia and their partners, using multisensory reminiscence. A sensory ethnography research methodology was employed to overcome the challenges of engaging individuals with cognition, decision making and communication difficulties and to enhance co-production of the activity with the person living with dementia and her spouse. This processual and longitudinal methodology allowed individuals, who are often excluded from research, to express themselves and co-design activities over 5 home visits using multisensory reminiscence of shared holiday memories. The co-produced research culminated in the creation of a digital story, the sharing of food and drink and re-enactment through exploration of their holiday memorabilia: which formed their “suitcase of memories” (SOM). The study extends the current academic debate in the subjects of co-produced interventions and identifies the critical themes of Holidays as life; Freedom; View seen, viewpoint heard and Strengthened self-identity with younger self emerged from the research. Such areas of sensory reminiscence have supported positive recollections, discourse, and, when combined, resulted in a beneficial impact on the partners shared relationship. A significant research outcome was the transition from a negative life view dominated by dementia to positively rekindling their relationship as a result of the SOM intervention and sensory methodology. Future research will continue to work with new couples to see if similar results are achieved with more case studies. Key WordsDementia, Couplehood, Reminiscence, Tourism, Sensory, Memories, “Sensory Ethnography”
Keywords: Dementia, Couplehood, Reminiscence, Tourism, Sensory, Memories, “Sensory Ethnography”
College: School of Management
Start Page: 1
End Page: 19