Personhood in Dementia

Jewellery is inherently connected to the body: as a symbol of self, as a witness to our experiences, as a conduit to transport us to other times, places and people and because it signifies aspects of identity and inter-personal relationships. The role of the body becomes acute in dementia, being something that can represent identity when other means, such as speech, have dissolved. Therefore there is potential for jewellery to bring significant benefits to someone with dementia. It could make a profound difference to a dementia sufferer’s internal and external representation of self, and significantly benefit the maintenance of personhood.

We have worked with individuals living with mild dementia and their close family members to make personalised wearable sensors that are enjoyable and meaningful for the wearer, echoing elements of their life stories and treasured relationships and experiences. We hope that the pieces will aid an empathic engagement with people who are living with memory loss, as well as being tangible aids for people with dementia in their recollections of their self and their past experiences.

See also: Digital Jewellery

Part of the Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy (SiDE) project.

Press release: Making digital personal: bringing jewellery into the technological age