summary: People with dementia can learn new skills that counter common misconceptions about the disease.
When the researchers first gave a dementia patient a tablet computer, they gradually became able to use it independently despite their memory loss.
The results suggest that people with dementia maintain their ability to focus and learn when they are intrigued. This research opens up new avenues for creating meaningful activities for people with dementia based on their own interests and abilities.
- Over the course of four to six weeks, dementia patients in the study became able to use tablet computers more independently despite severe memory loss.
- People with dementia were also able to learn from each other without caregiver or loved one intervention, demonstrating their ability to collaborate and focus on tasks.
- This study suggests that engaging people with dementia in meaningful, interest-based activities may help them utilize their remaining learning abilities and improve their quality of life. increase.
sauce: Linkoping University
People with dementia have the ability to learn new things despite their illness. This is the conclusion of a doctoral dissertation recently published at Linköping University, Sweden. According to Elias Ingebrand, who conducted the study, the findings debunked the popular belief that people with dementia are empty shells.
Elias Ingebrand asked 10 people with dementia, 8 of whom live in nursing homes, to use a computer tablet for the first time. Staff and close friends were there to help, but the only instruction given to the participants was to use the tablet freely. It soon turned out that this device piqued their interest.
“I was quite surprised by this. I understand,” he says.
The study lasted 4-6 weeks. The participants suffered from severe memory loss, but gradually became more independent in using the tablet. Elias Ingebrand thinks it’s because the body remembers the necessary movements, even though the ability to talk about it has been lost. However, it is important to get the other person’s attention.
A woman who was orienteering started using the tablet spontaneously to check her competition results. A restless and aggressive man learned how to access the open archives of Swedish public television station SVT.
After a while, the staff noticed him sitting for a long time, watching calmly and concentratedly. This was a side of him they had never seen before.
Elias Ingebrand was amazed that people with dementia could solve the mystery of the tablet by working together and learning from each other without the help of staff or loved ones. Even in this situation, they managed to concentrate on the task at hand.
To his knowledge, no one has ever studied cooperation between people with dementia.
However, there are previous studies that have found that people with dementia have the ability to learn new things. This includes memorizing nonsense words and remembering random people’s names.
However, Elias Ingebrand says it proves that learning is possible without specific instructions and that the results can be readily applied to dementia care.
“My paper has influenced the way we look at people with dementia. They should not be treated as children, but as people who still have the will and motivation to do things. This ultimately means getting the opportunity to participate in meaningful activities based on one’s own interests and aspirations.”
Of course, this is a challenge for nursing home staff. They are often too busy to sit with one person for long periods of time. Getting people with dementia to do things cooperatively can be a solution worth trying. And while this study is about computer tablets, Elias Ingebrand believes the results are valid for other forms of learning.
“I would like to further my research by finding out how the knowledge and expertise of people with dementia can be used to create meaningful activities. You may also be able to teach others within.
“Maybe a small seminar or knitting. The right to lifelong learning should include everyone.
About this dementia and learning research news
author: Jonas Rosland
sauce: Linköping University
contact: Jonas Rosland – Linkoping University
image: Image credited to Neuroscience News
Original research: closed access.
Ingebrand, Elias, Dementia and Learning: Use of Tablet Computers in Collaborative Activities, available from the Linköping University website.
Dementia and Learning: Utilization of Tablet Terminals in Collaborative Activities
Living with dementia is commonly associated with terms such as loss, confusion and dependence. Not development, agency or collaboration. Contributing to a growing body of research that recognizes the residual capacities of people living with dementia and how they cope with the challenges of everyday life, the paper is framed by habitually negative assumptions. It is about the subject that is being taught, namely learning.
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