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Background - dementia and human conversation
Dementia, which involves the impairment of short-term (working) memory in older people, is a very serious problem for people who develop it and for their family and carers. Short-term memory plays a very important role in human communication. It helps to maintain the thread of a conversation, it ensures that topics are fully discussed, and it allows new topics to be introduced at appropriate times.
Impaired short-term memory can therefore have severe impact on a person's conversations, resulting in topics being repeatedly introduced, and giving the appearance that the person is not listening. This can be very disturbing and frustrating for the conversation partner, and can in turn have a negative effect on the person as they become aware of their partner's negative emotions but do not understand how they have come about.
CIRCA project achievements
Finding ways to promote communication for elderly people with dementia is vitally important. Reminiscence sessions take advantage of the enjoyment that older people, both with and without dementia, have in relating well-rehearsed and well remembered previous experiences or events of personal and emotional significance.
Of particular interest is the fact that in dementia, long-term memory is often relatively well preserved even though short-term memory is impaired. This project has produced an innovatively designed reminiscence experience based on interactive multimedia.
The CIRCA system provides the user with a hypermedia structure for their communication and thereby creates a livelier and more engaging form of joint reminiscence activity than is possible with a paper scrapbook.
Evaluation of the system with people with dementia and their carers has shown that, compared to traditional reminscence methods, CIRCA helps to create a more successful conversation, facilitating increased communication from the person with dementia, and helping them to take control of the interaction.
Commercial partners are currently being sought to market CIRCA.
- Communicating in Alzheimer's World
- What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- How the Loss of Memory Works in Alzheimer’s Disease, and How Understanding This Could Help You
- Learning How to Communicate with Someone Suffering From Alzheimer's Disease
- What is Alzheimer's Disease?
- What is Dementia?
- Alzheimer's World -- Trying to Reconnect with Someone Suffering from Alzheimer's Disease
- Advice and Insight -- Alzheimer's Reading Room
- Dementia and the Eight Types of Dementia
- Does the Combination of Aricept and Namenda Help Slow the Rate of Decline in Alzheimer's Patients
- Test Your Memory (TYM) for Alzheimer's or Dementia in Five Minutes
- The Mini-Cog Test for Alzheimer's and Dementia
- Urinary Incontinence -- How We Beat Alzheimer's Incontinence
- 100 Good Reasons to Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room Now
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room