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People with dementia positioning themselves as learners
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Society, Division of Ageing and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5449-8524
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Sensory Organs and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Society, Division of Ageing and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3033-9879
2021 (English)In: Educational gerontology, ISSN 0360-1277, E-ISSN 1521-0472, Vol. 47, no 2, p. 47-62Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent studies have demonstrated that people living with dementia, contrary to common believes, are capable of novel learning without structured interventions. Opportunities for learning throughout an individuals lifespan have been acknowledged as important factors in facilitating social participation and promoting wellbeing. However, little is still known about the situated practices used in the learning process for people living with dementia. This study aims to explore how people living with dementia in Swedish residential care facilities position, perceive, and assert, themselves as learners in a novel activity. The study is based on video recordings of eight people living with dementia, who for the first time use tablet computers as a social activity on a one-to-one basis with their formal caregivers. Through interaction analysis, we show how the participants living with dementia use the engagement displays of requests, accounts, formulations and metacomments to make their active undertaking in the ongoing activity public to their communication partner. Our findings suggest that people living with dementia might still perceive themselves as individuals capable of novel learning and that they are active and engaged agents in this process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC , 2021. Vol. 47, no 2, p. 47-62
National Category
Gerontology, specialising in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-172867DOI: 10.1080/03601277.2020.1855501ISI: 000598220700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-172867DiVA, id: diva2:1521680
Available from: 2021-01-24 Created: 2021-01-24 Last updated: 2023-05-04
In thesis
1. Dementia and learning: The use of tablet computers in joint activities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dementia and learning: The use of tablet computers in joint activities
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Demens och lärande : Användandet av surfplattor i gemensamma aktiviteter
Abstract [en]

Living with dementia is generally associated with terms such as loss, confusion, and dependency; not development, agency and collaboration. Contributing to a growing body of research that acknowledges the remaining abilities of people living with dementia, and how they cope with challenges in their everyday lives, this thesis concerns a topic habitually framed by negative presumptions, namely learning. 

The risk of developing dementia increases with advancing age, and with an aging population the number of people living with dementia is expected to rise. Dementia is a complex condition that can have various underlying causes; it includes numerous diagnoses and is commonly characterized by a decline in cognitive and communicative functions. Due to its clinical connotations, people living with dementia often face negative assumptions about how they are, and what they can or cannot do. Alongside prevailing metaphors such as a return to childhood or empty shells, people living with dementia have been depicted as passive and disengaged communicators, incapable of initiating social action and asserting agency, who struggle to maintain attention in interactions. 

The aim of this thesis is to study novel learning in everyday activities for people living with dementia, taking the use of tablet computers as a case in point. Learning is approached from an interactionist perspective, where it is understood as a social and situated process, and conceptualized as changing participation in joint activities. The data used in this thesis comprises a collection of 50 video recordings where a person living with dementia, who has no previous experience of using touchscreen technologies, is using a tablet computer together with either a caregiver or another person living with dementia. The participants were asked to use the tablet computers according to their own interests, and did not receive any information regarding learning as an objective of their activities. Through four empirical studies, all using the methodological framework of multimodal conversation analysis, this thesis challenges the stereotypical belief that people living with dementia are incapable of novel learning. 

Study I shows how a woman living with dementia, over the course of six weeks, learns to perform the basic navigational steps needed to use an augmentative and alternative communication application. The analysis demonstrates how the participant's reliance on detailed information from her interlocutors gradually declined both during and across recordings. Study II highlights how people living with dementia position themselves as learners in unfamiliar joint activities. The results emphasize that the participants living with dementia publicly display their current understanding of the ongoing joint activities, introduce learning as a conversational topic, and are actively engaged in soliciting the information needed to partake. Study III shows how professional and family carers support the participants living with dementia in managing the tablet computers. The analysis reveals that the caregivers orient towards the doing of the participants with dementia, are attentive to their displayed understanding of the unfolding activities, and adapt any instructions with detailed multimodal cues if required. Study IV moves away from the dyadic constellations consisting of a person living with dementia together with a caregiver, and instead focuses on how people living with dementia manage the joint activities together with a peer. The results show that the participants treat the activities as collaborative endeavors, and orient towards the displayed competences of each other by offering or soliciting information when needed. 

Taken together, the findings from this thesis demonstrate that novel learning is possible for people living with dementia even without the use of structured interventions. The learning process is highly collaborative, and the participants actively support each other's conduct throughout the unfolding activities. Apart from possibilities for repeated participation in joint activities, procedural and agentive aspects of learning for people living with dementia are emphasized. 

Abstract [sv]

Att leva med demens förknippas vanligtvis med termer som förlust, förvirring och beroende; inte utveckling, agens och samarbete. En vanlig föreställning är att nytt lärande är ouppnåeligt för personer med demens. Genom att studera lärande, ansluter den här avhandlingen till ett växande forskningsfält som undersöker hur personer med demens nyttjar kvarvarande förmågor för att hantera de utmaningar som uppstår i vardagen. 

Risken att utveckla demens ökar med stigande ålder och med en åldrande befolkning förväntas antalet personer som lever med demens att öka. Demens är ett paraplybegrepp som innefattar en stor mängd sjukdomar som vanligtvis karaktäriseras av förändringar i kognitiva och kommunikativa förmågor. Demenssjukdomars kliniska konnotationer avspeglas inte sällan i allmänna uppfattningar om demens, och personer som lever med demens möter ofta negativa antaganden om hur de är och vad de kan eller inte kan göra. Utöver stereotypa beskrivningar som att gå i barndom eller vara ett tomt skal, finns det föreställningar om att personer med demens är oengagerade samtalspartners, oförmögna att initiera social handling, hävda agens eller upprätthålla fokus i interaktioner. 

Avhandlingens syfte är att undersöka nytt lärande i vardagen för personer som lever med demens, med användandet av surfplattor som huvudexempel. I avhandlingen undersöks lärande från ett interaktionsbaserat och situerat perspektiv, där lärande konceptualiseras som förändrat deltagande i en gemensam aktivitet. Den empiriska grunden består av 50 videoinspelningar där en person med demens, som saknar tidigare erfarenheter av tryckkänslig teknik, använder en surfplatta tillsammans med antingen en vårdgivare eller en annan person med demens. Deltagarna ombads att använda surfplattorna efter egna intressen och fick inga instruktioner gällande lärande som ett mål med sitt deltagande. Avhandlingen baseras på fyra artiklar, metodologiskt grundade i multimodal interaktionsanalys, och resultaten kontrasterar mot den stereotypa bilden av personer med demens som oförmögna till nytt lärande. 

Artikel I visar hur en kvinna med demens, över sex veckors tid, lär sig hur man utför de grundläggande stegen i en kommunikationsstödjande applikation. Analysen demonstrerar hur deltagaren gradvis blir mindre beroende av detaljerade instruktioner från sin samtalspartner. Artikel II framhäver hur personer med demens positionerar sig själva som lärande individer i nya aktiviteter. Resultaten visar att deltagarna med demens explicitgör sin situerade förståelse av de pågående aktiviteterna, introducerar lärande som ett samtalsämne och är aktivt engagerade i inhämtandet av den information som de behöver för att kunna delta. Artikel III visar hur vårdgivarna stöttar deltagarna med demens i handhavandet av surfplattorna. Analysen betonar att vårdgivarna orienterar mot deltagarnas görande i aktiviteterna, är uppmärksamma på deras uppvisade förståelse och anpassar sina instruktioner med detaljerade kroppsliga indikatorer vid behov. Artikel IV undersöker hur personer med demens hanterar aktiviteten tillsammans med andra personer med demens och utan stöd från kognitivt friska deltagare. Resultaten tydliggör hur deltagarna behandlar aktiviteterna som ett gemensamt projekt och uppvisar en medvetenhet kring varandras förmågor genom att såväl erbjuda som efterfråga information när aktiviteten stannar upp. 

Sammantaget visar avhandlingens resultat att nytt lärande är möjligt för personer som lever med demens, även utan strukturerade interventioner. Lärandeprocessen är starkt kollaborativ och deltagarna stöttar aktivt varandras bidrag genom aktiviteterna. Utöver möjligheter till upprepat deltagande i gemensamma aktiviteter, framhävs vikten av kroppsliga och agensbaserade aspekter för lärandet hos personer m

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2023. p. 92
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 850
Keywords
Dementia, Situated learning, Conversation analysis, Collaboration, Scaffolding, Demens, Situerat lärande, Samtalsanalys, Samarbete, Stöttande
National Category
Gerontology, specialising in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-193546 (URN)10.3384/9789180750714 (DOI)978-91-8075-070-7 (ISBN)978-91-8075-071-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-06-09, K4, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-05-04 Created: 2023-05-04 Last updated: 2023-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Ingebrand, EliasSamuelsson, ChristinaHydén, Lars-Christer
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