Seasonal changes: Visualising the progression of dementia.

Seasonal changes: Visualising the progression of dementia.

Ms Emma PutlandZoom

As a range of complex conditions, and being inextricably linked with social anxieties, dementia is a very ‘slippery’ concept to define (Zeilig, 2014: 260). How then, do we communicate it, both verbally and visually?
Previous researchers and dementia advocacy groups have interrogated popular social representations of dementia in the UK (e.g. Bailey, 2019; Brookes et al., 2018; DEEP, 2014; Harvey and Brookes 2019). Building on this and recognising the need for more qualitative research that addresses the experiences of people with dementia and their carers (Carmody et al., 2015), this project works with 51 people who have experience of dementia, either through having a diagnosis or being a carer/loved one for someone who does. I explore how such individuals situate themselves in relation to wider dementia representations, including how participants interpret, reproduce and challenge the discourses associated with a sample of images and phrases shown to them.
This talk illustrates the rich diversity of responses by focusing on one metaphorical image, which shows three head-shaped trees progressing from summer to autumn/winter. I will discuss participants’ debates surrounding its (in)accuracy as a visual explanation of dementia, and some suggestions for how to change the image to better fit individuals’ personal conceptualisations.

University of Nottingham, UK
Fri 14:30 - 16:00
Ageing
Standard paper