In this project we’ve been exploring the ways in which young people – in particular teenagers who are carers or have family members with dementia – might be involved more actively in the lives of people living with dementia. The project explored the perceptions and understandings of dementia held by youths, their personal experiences of dementia, and the concerns they have around spending time with people who have the condition. Our early work identified a range of challenges young people faced – from family members putting barriers in place so that younger family did not spend time with elder loved ones, to concerns around the availability of dementia friendly spaces and places when out and about.
In a series of co-design workshops we explored these and other issues and acted out potential concepts and ideas that responded to them. Eventually, we focused on designing around an issue all of our co-designers faced – an inability to know what to talk about when spending time with a loved one with dementia, how to scaffold the conversation, and even how to initiate it in the first place. Over several months we designed and iterated a mobile application called Ticket-to-Talk. This application enabled people to create profiles of family members, prompted them to collect snippets of media (photos, videos and biographical information) about them, and then to collate these into media collections that could be used to support conversations the next time they spent time with them. Using the application in this way promoted reminiscence-oriented conversation between generations, and also allowed the young people and people with dementia to co-lead conversation around media.