Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work types › Editorial activity
Drawing from our Experience: Stories of travelling with Dementia
Getting out and about is essential to our wellbeing, particularly after a diagnosis of dementia. We all have a right to remain connected and active in our communities and yet many people affected by dementia describe difficult journeys and travel experiences.
Go Upstream works with people with dementia and service providers, bringing people together to create a shared understanding of travel challenges and potential solutions. This work has highlighted the emotional impact of the challenges that journeys can bring. We see that journeys aren’t just about the transport but about the plans we make, the people we meet, the services we use, the environments we travel through and the destinations we visit.
One of Go Upstream’s aims is to help service provider staff to truly understand the experience of travelling with dementia in order to support service improvement, ideally by travelling with people with dementia, gaining insights into the real challenges. But what if staff can’t be there? How do we tell stories that truly describe the experiences that some people with dementia may have?
We wondered if using the combination of artwork and text in a comic format might begin to tell these stories. If artists and people with dementia travelled and created artwork together, could we begin to more accurately describe the sights, sounds and experiences of a journey as experienced by someone living with dementia? Could we highlight the sensory impacts of dementia? Would the resulting comic be useful as a training resource, helping staff to understand the impacts of services and environments on passengers? Would the format be more accessible for people with dementia?
We started to explore these questions as part of the Drawing from Experience project funded by a Disruption Award from the Dementia Services Development Trust. After taking journeys together, artists and people living with dementia developed these stories to describe particular challenges. Of course, these can’t represent everybody’s experiences but we hope that this work can start conversations about how we can begin to design better journeys.