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Digital life stories spark joy in people with dementia

Creating a ‘digital story’ of their memories – using photos, music, text and video – can help dementia patients open up to their fears and move into optimism. This is the key conclusion of a recent research completed at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Participants had weekly sessions with one of the researchers. Starting with a preliminary interview, they quickly moved onto sharing different meaningful stories, selecting one to focus on and building this story further – including writing a script, selecting music, images and photographs and editing the draft story.

It was an intense process. Although many participants were tired after a session, they all felt that it was a beneficial, meaningful and enjoyable process. Working on a personally gratifying activity with a tangible outcome seemed to keep them motivated and eager to continue.

To fully understand the longer-term impact of the process, further investigation is needed. What is clear, however, is that for the participants, talking about memories helped them open up about having dementia, get past their fears and look ahead with optimism.

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