Calendar- large view
Calendar- large view
“More than 3.5 million Canadians are currently over the age of 65. By the year 2020, that number will be more than double.” (Romanow, 2002) As a result of this aging population elder care has also become huge reality for Canadian families. “For 70% of Canadians age 30-60 care giving for aging parents is now a reality with elder care being shared across families.” (Romanow, 2002) Therefore my primary audience is members of the baby Boomer Generation suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. My secondary audience consists of the families and caregivers of these particular individuals who are experiencing dramatic change in their own lives during this transitional time.
Dehumanized care is an issue involved in the care of dementia patients. I intend to show how reminiscence therapy techniques can be employed using co-design to establish better communication between patient, caregiver, and family of an individual suffering from memory loss.
“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” This quote by Mary Engelbrief accurately describes the emotions families with an individual suffering from memory loss experience. These emotions stem from the reality that they are witnessing what is commonly described as “the loss of life while you are still living.”(Nelson, 2004)
Alzheimer’s and dementia are diseases that not only affect the individual but also their support system and families. This past summer my great grandmother passed away, having suffered from dementia for several years. Dementia and Alzheimer’s have no current cure so like any other family witnessing the changes this disease activates in the individual, the family is in no control to make a change. My family in particular also voiced regret in her passing for failing to record the cherished stories my nanny still had the capacity to recall on her good days.
Fuelled by my families self-reflection my thesis project focuses on changing the way families react to the diagnosis and care of dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Focus should further rely on who the individual is and not that they are suffering from an illness. By establishing patient participation in an activity, to be employed by family and caregivers, stories and memories can be used to provide an increased quality of life as memory fades.