Non-drug interventions for people with a learning disablity and dementia
This project overview tells the story of our Life through a Lens research. Co-researchers with a learning disability were involved from the start and have taken part in staff recruitment, photovoice training, data collection and the project advisory group. Additionally, we have all shared the study findings at local, national and international events and helped to produce academic publications and accessible findings.
what is photovoice?
Co-researchers used a research method called Photovoice. This involves taking photographs and using their knowledge by experience of having friends with dementia. The team had training in photovoice and how to use the camera. This is why the research is called ‘Life through a Lens’. The project used a range of other research methods to find out if non-drug supports led to positive changes for individuals. This included taking measures before, during and after the interventions, interviews, and using an intervention log.
Listen to the two podcasts below to hear co-researchers Andrew and Louise talking about photovoice.
what are non-drug supports?
People with dementia sometimes take medication (drugs) to help with symptoms. There are other ways to support people that don’t involve medication. We want to find out how far non-drug support can help people with a learning disability. Non-drug supports implemented in the study included life story work, digital photo album, online reminiscence activities, a playlist for life (individualised music), environmental changes such as lighting or different flooring, aromatherapy, cookery and exercise.
Our end of project activities in March 2020 included a conference hosted at the University of Stirling 'Living Well with Dementia' for people with a learning disability attended by over seventy participants. The team talked about what helped participants in the study, while delegates engaged with some of the ways in which people with dementia can be supported to live well. This included music reminiscence, robotic animals and real animals. it was an interactive day! We also presented at an international conference in August 2020.
Life through a Lens has been highly commended in the Community Champion category of the Scottish Learning Disability Awards 2020. The study has been nominated for a Research Culture award in the Best activity that contributes to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion category as part of the University of Stirling Festival of Research, 2021