Introduction

Although the symptoms of dementia generally worsen over time, research suggests that this deterioration is made worse by a lack of social interaction and meaningful activity. People with dementia themselves have pointed out that following diagnosis they felt stigmatised, set apart from the rest of society, and excluded from making decisions affecting their own lives.

Evidence is growing that reducing the psychological ill-being related to a diagnosis of dementia can reduce the costs of care in the longer term. Social care is intended to involve more than just meeting the basic physical needs of people who have dementia; it should also maintain or enhance their quality of life and well-being, including emotional well-being. However, activities provided in residential care are sometimes based on stereotypical ideas about what older people enjoy, rather than on their personal interests and preferences. As a result people with dementia can become bored, frustrated and anxious and this may produce reactions that are seen by staff as ‘challenging behaviour’.

This project worked with people with dementia who were living in a residential home make films using an approach called Participatory Video (PV). PV means that the people with dementia took an active part in making films, rather than just being filmed by someone else. They were able to decide what the films should be about, and how they are made. The staff of the residential home were also involved. The study compared social inclusion, well-being and activity levels of each of the people with dementia who take part before and after the PV groups. It also looked at the costs and benefits of PV by comparison with other activities, or inactivity, to see whether it is good value for money.

Participatory film-making with people with dementia in long-term social care
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