This is Me: Evaluation of a boardgame to promote social engagement, wellbeing and agency in people with dementia through mindful life-storytelling

Kristina Niedderer*, Vjera Holthoff-Detto, Thomas J.l. Van Rompay, Armagan Karahanoglu, Geke D.S. Ludden, Rosa Almeida, Raquel Losada Durán, Yolanda Bueno Aguado, Jennifer N.W. Lim, Tina Smith, Dew Harrison, Michael P. Craven, Julie Gosling, Laura Orton, Isabelle Tournier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Receiving a dementia diagnosis is a difficult experience for most people and often affects their wellbeing negatively. To support people's wellbeing, in a therapeutic context, life-storytelling, reminiscence and mindfulness are used with people with dementia. In an everyday context, traditional games are used as a resource for stimulating memory, cognition and social activity. While an increasing number of creative strategies are available to support people with dementia, the area of board games design and their effect on wellbeing is underexplored.

This paper reports on the evaluation of the This is Me (TIM) mindful life-storytelling board game by the European project MinD. Using a co-design methodology, TIM was developed with and for people with mild to moderate dementia to support their wellbeing by enhancing self-empowerment and social engagement. A focus group methodology was used to evaluate TIM with 50 people with dementia and 19 carers across four countries. TIM was evaluated with regard to the usability and experience of the design as well as people's emotional wellbeing, social engagement and agency.

The thematic analysis demonstrated that the combination of life-storytelling and mindfulness allowed players to engage in meaningful social interaction and, as a result, they reported enjoyment, learning, more acceptance of the past and present situation, and that they perceived looking forward into the future together with others as helpful. The study demonstrates that design can be a useful means to support people with dementia in aspects of emotional wellbeing, social engagement and a sense of agency.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100995
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of aging studies
Volume60
Early online date15 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

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