With this in mind a Monash researcher is exploring the use of emergent technologies to develop personal archives to support the memories and identity of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
PhD student, Joanne Mihelcic from the Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics said her Storyline Project is aimed at determining a therapeutic use for the personal archive in aged care and dementia.
“New advances in technology and design are providing us with opportunities to create personalised support and environments that represent a person and their identity at home or in residential care,” Ms Mihelcic said.
“The aim of the Storyline Project is to develop methods to create, share and manage a personal archive of images and stories that are important to an individual with a particular focus on the management of the information and archival questions raised.”
Memory of recent events is the first to be affected for sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease, but as the disease progresses, long term memory is also lost.
“The ability to support a person’s memory in time and place may assist in improving an individual’s quality of life, integrity of memory and also help those responsible for their care,” Ms Mihelcic said.
“The research lends itself to understanding and answering the questions that may at some point become difficult to answer by the participant.
“In developing the personal archives, participants have to decide what they want to tell themselves and others when they can’t remember or when they can no longer express that for themselves.”
A potential outcome of the project is that it could influence the design of residential and institutional spaces.
“The ability to support a person’s memory has the potential to assist in improving an individual’s quality of life and integrity of memory and to maintain a healthy sense of who we are,” Ms Mihelcic said.
Ms Mihelcic was awarded an Alzheimer’s Australia Research Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Dementia in 2010 and has joint supervision from the Faculty of Information Technology and Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.
If you have an early stage diagonsis of Alzheimer’s Disease and would like to participate in the study, contact Joanne Mihelcic on 0401 651 168 or firstname.lastname@example.org.