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Lifespace and people with dementia - measuring and re-enabling continued community participation

Dr Jacki Liddle, Prof Henry Brodaty, Ms Fleur Harrison
Research Centre DCRC Assessment and Better Care
Partner Institution University of Queensland, CSIRO
Project Description

Lifespace is the geographic space in which a person lives and conducts their activities. It is recognised that having dementia is likely to constrict a person’s lifespace and reduce their community participation. Research indicates that a constricted lifespace is predictive of faster deterioration of cognitive abilities, need for residential care and reduced wellbeing. Despite this, not much is known about the lifespace and community mobility needs and challenges for people with dementia. This is partly due to the fact that lifespace measurement has relied on self-report of community trips, which can be inaccurate and burdensome.

This study would use smartphones and Bluetooth Beacons to passively measure the lifespace of participants with dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from an existing longitudinal study. Lifespace outcomes would be explored in relation to health, neuropsychological and functional measures. In addition, flexible interviewing would be used to elicit the nature of lifespace needs and barriers for people with dementia and their family members.

These needs and the lifespace outcomes will be mapped onto existing community mobility interventions with proven efficacy. This will enable development of clinical approaches to maintain lifespace for people with dementia using a re-ablement approach.

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