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older adults, Sheridan Elder Research Centre


The goal of this qualitative study, conducted in the summer of 2004, was to enhance the experience of personhood in individuals with dementia through the use of computermediated life story writing for conversational remembering boxes. Eight male participants with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) were paired with student researchers over the course of 4 weeks. The interviews were taped and electronically recorded on a computer, which was also used to engage the interest of the participants. The life stories were transcribed and served as a foundation for personal memory boxes that were sent home with the participants. Follow-up with caregivers at 3 and 6-month intervals indicated a good level of interest and activity with respect to the memory boxes. Computer use, which was to facilitate the interview process, was found to be a source of distraction and did not hold the participants’ interest. New software and hardware must be developed to enhance the changing abilities of people with dementia and to help maintain their personhood.


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Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC)

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Publication Citation

Ryan, E., Spadafora, P., Clark, S., Spykerman, H., Wiersma, L., & Lenartowicz, M. (2005). Facilitated life story writing by individuals with dementia for conversational remembering boxes. [Report]. Oakville: Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC).

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