Ticket to Talk: supporting families living through dementia

Digital Health

Collaborators Youth Focus North East, Alzheimer's Society, Jesmond Dementia Action Alliance, Northumbria University


A new app that helps families share memories with loved ones living through dementia.


An app designed to collect digital media and play it back during conversations with those experiencing dementia.


It’s been used with tens of families as part of the DemYouth project and in partnership with several dementia advocacy organisations.

As we live longer, more families in the UK are caring for relatives who are experiencing dementia. According to the Alzheimer's Society, one in 14 people over 65 will develop dementia, and the condition affects 1 in 6 people over 80.

Ticket to Talk is a smartphone application that’s designed to encourage conversation between younger people and grandparents, close friends or people they care for who are experiencing dementia. The app works by enabling family members and friends to collect digital media (or ‘tickets’) that can be used to help support conversations and remembering with those they are close to with dementia.

Family members and close friends each create their own profile before uploading pictures, sounds or videos that tell a story about the person experiencing dementia. These are called ‘tickets’ - things that can be used as prompts in conversations and help younger people to reminisce with their older relatives. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for tickets, the app gives some small bits of inspiration to respond to, for example, “can you find a picture of Sarah’s old car?”.

The app helps you to build up a collection of tickets quickly and curate these into a ‘conversation’. This works a bit like a playlist, where tickets are queued up to be played back during a face-to-face conversation with an older relative. The app invites you write a few words about how the conversation went, and make a note of any topics you discussed that went well, to help you curate new tickets for your future visits.

Ticket to Talk has been developed as part of the DemYouth project, where researchers worked with groups of young people who have relatives or friends with personal experiences of dementia. The DemYouth project has been supported through grants from the ESRC, EPSRC and Newcastle University’s Institute for Social Renewal. It’s an ongoing collaboration between researchers at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities and partners at the Alzheimer’s Society and Youth Focus North East, as part of the larger DemTalk project.

You can find out more about Ticket to Talk at their website here.


DemYouth: Co-Designing and Enacting Tools to Support Young People's Engagement with People with Dementia

  1. McNaney R
  2. Vines J
  3. Mercer J
  4. Mexter L
  5. Young T

2017Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17)

Ticket to talk: Supporting conversation between young people and people with dementia through digital media

  1. Welsh D
  2. Morrissey K
  3. Foley S
  4. McNaney R
  5. Salis C
  6. McCarthy J
  7. Vines J

2018Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems