Unfortunately, our scheduled keynote speaker, Professor Roma Maguire – Professor of Digital Health and Care, University of Strathclyde – was unable to attend to due a family bereavement. However, two of our workshop chairs, Dr Diane Pennington and Dr Grant Gibson, deputised in Roma’s place.
Diane’s presentation focused on understanding workplace information needs and the system design needs of people living with dementia. With people living and working longer, at a time when early onset dementia is underdiagnosed, Diane argued that employers need to increase their awareness of dementia, while an agenda is also needed to address the lack of research on dementia in the workplace – including an absence of research on information needs within this context and in dementia care as a whole.
Grant discussed the use of assistive technology (AT) in dementia care, which is often underpinned by the assumption that AT helps with ‘ageing in place’ and lead to significant efficiences; although there is far from conclusive evidence as to this being a benefit. One of the themes to emerge from his research, Grant noted, was the idea of a ‘mixed economy’ of AT for dementia; this ranges from formal implementations of AT to do-it-yourself solutions developed or adapted by families. As such, there exists a need for research into the best models through which AT can be successfully implemented at scale in dementia care.