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Quality of life and digital gaming technology: the benefits of a technology based intervention for community dwelling people with dementia.

By Clare Cutler


Community dwelling people living with dementia are often at risk of experiencing reduced Quality of Life (QoL) as a result of, but not restricted to, social exclusion, isolation and malignant social positioning. It is therefore imperative that QoL is protected, supported and maintained to ensure that people can live well with dementia. However, whilst it is acknowledged that post diagnostic dementia support is integral for the maintenance of QoL, less is known about the sort of interventions that can promote, support and maintain it, within a community setting. The role of technology in dementia care is a growing area of research, and in recent years the use of digital gaming technology has emerged as a viable method to support health needs, care and rehabilitation. However, whilst the health and social benefits of using digital gaming technology, such as the Nintendo Wii (Nintendo Co LTD), Xbox Kinect (Microsoft Corp) and the Apple iPad, have been evidenced in other health research, there is a gap in knowledge surrounding the QoL benefits of this technology specifically for community dwelling people with dementia. To explore the potential benefits of a digital gaming technology intervention for community dwelling people with dementia, a multi method qualitative methodology with a nested quantitative element was utilised to collect data over a six week period, across 12 two hour weekly sessions, set within two community locations. Findings of the intervention called the ‘Tech Club’, which had 16 participants, illustrated two significant emerging themes. Firstly, that such an intervention can support and protect selfhood through providing opportunities to address self-esteem, efficacy and agency, thereby counterbalancing the fragility of selfhood. Secondly, that engagement in lifelong learning and teaching is possible through participation with digital gaming technology. These themes indicate that the QoL of people with dementia can be protected, maintained and enhanced through a digital gaming based mechanism which supports self and agency, increases a sense of citizenship and equity within this, and provides an opportunity for active social contribution through lifelong learning and teaching. This thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge by evidencing that a digital gaming technology intervention has QoL benefits for community dwelling people with dementia and that a psychosocial post diagnostic intervention using the Nintendo Wii, Apple iPad and Microsoft Xbox Kinect is a mechanism which can support the maintenance of QoL

OAI identifier: oai:eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk:30431
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