It can be debilitating to try to manage transport as an individual with dementia, leading to loneliness, loss of trust and even depression.
A pioneering project is now producing comics to help people better understand and enhance the travel experience of people with dementia through working and planning Scotland’s transport system.
University of Dundee graphics students are collaborating with people who have dementia in the Drawing from Experience project to produce literature that will be circulated by the Dementia Services Development Trust, which sponsored the project.
The camera club questions myths of dementia and increases trust.
Andy Hyde runs Go Upstream, a project funded by the Life Changes Trust to collaborate with dementia-affected individuals on a number of transport issues. After hearing about the difficulties people face while trying to continue living in and enjoying their cities, he developed Drawing from Experience.
We wanted to extend this definition of putting together people with dementia and service providers through paths to try to learn about the real difficulties of being on the move,” he said.”
We discovered through this work that we prefer to think about transportation when we think about travel – so we think about cars, timetables and tickets. Yet there are also aspects of travel that are not even transportation-related. Often it’s the little stuff in between. It might be buying a ticket, going to a bus stop, or the train station’s noise. Those are the parts of the trip that we don’t worry too much about.
Mr. Hyde points out that not only do people living with dementia suffer memory loss, but they also lose confidence in their own abilities and their environment.
He said, “Many of us think of dementia as a problem of memory, but there are many, many things related to it, including sensory things such as speed and light and mobility.”
“In fact, the impact of those experiences can be a real challenge for many people. So, we can all feel frustrated or confused or anxious on a trip, but we can get around those things. But for people with dementia, it can really shake their confidence and they may not take that journey again.”
The idea, which came about when Andy was talking to his daughter about comics and graphic novels, was motivated by wanting to translate those emotional experiences and share them with others who can give support.
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“It dawned on me that this could be a format we could use because of the way it is created. The number of words next to the panel and the style of the artwork can really convey emotion.”It dawned on me that because of the way it is created, this could be a format we could use. The number of words next to the panel and the artwork’s style can really convey emotion.
Mr. Hyde thought it was necessary not to make assumptions because of his own experience dealing with people with dementia and to make sure the comics were co-created by people with the disease.
He said, “The idea was for artists to sit down with people with dementia and take a journey together, because only then can you really see what the issues are. Could we develop a piece of art together that really represents someone’s experience so they look at it and say, yeah, that’s how I felt.”
The idea of the comic was created to help people move from their front door to their street, some even as short, but in several different circumstances, Mr. Hyde sees the potential to help.
He said, “There are so many opportunities here to do customized pieces of service. What we’ve done here just shows what’s possible.”
In order to see the artwork as it grew, the comics were sent to small groups of people, which helped Mr. Hyde and the artists find out what kinds of photographs and writings were available.
The comics are produced in both color and black and white because some reviewers reported issues with the color, claiming it was too “vivid,”
Dementia-friendly training is established by national charities to keep everyone walking
It became as much an accessibility thing as a storytelling thing, which was a really interesting result,”It became as much an accessibility thing as a storytelling thing, which was a really interesting outcome.”
It is hoped that not only people with dementia will benefit from the training materials, but also people who provide the care and those who work in nursing homes.
“Mr. Hyde said, “We’re trying to say this is about us. It’s about everybody.