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Patient Voices: Dangling conversations

Dangling conversations

Digital stories provide a creative way for people to tell their stories using an amalgamation of voice, image and music, and can be used to engage nurses with others’ experiences in the classroom setting. Seven people with early-stage dementia and one carer participated in making their own stories during a Patient Voices Reflective digital storytelling workshop in April, 2011. These participants experienced particular and varied challenges relating to telling a story and engaging with the technical process of digital storytelling. They were supported in overcoming these challenges through person-centred relationships with facilitators, allowing them to negotiate the help required. During the workshop a number of positive changes were observed in the participants: increased confidence, improved speech, a sense of purpose and increased connection. Our experiences and learning from this Patient Voices workshop have been published in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing as Dangling conversations: reflections on the process of creating digital stories during a workshop with people with early-stage dementia. The article is available at

Making the most of life
Trained as a solicitor, Aileen turns her memory to good use recalling family stories. Speculating as to whether stress and Alzheimer’s are linked, she nevertheless tries to make the most of life, like her mother and grandmother before her.

The lad fae Norrie’s Pend
His sense of humour is undiminished as Alex looks back at various incidents in his life, laughs at the tricks his memory plays now at the Bookies and the shops and looks forward to the future.

It’s home
Bill’s love of sports (especially football), travel and keeping busy and happy memories of army service in Korea nevertheless lead him to conclude that home is the best place to be.

Some things don’t change
Bubbly, attractive and vivacious, Etta has lived life to the full, driving interesting cars, running amusement arcades and travelling around the world. For as long as she can remember, she has always loved food, although these days it’s harder to remember what she likes.

It’s the art
Gerry reflects on art, the links between art and humanity, and the meaning of art in his life, As he struggles to take in his diagnosis of dementia, Gerry appreciates the care and kindness at the centre, and being with others in the same boat – and knows that art and music will keep him connected to the world.

It’s a different world
Once a popular and confident speaker, loss of the ability to speak easily has been one of the worst aspects of dementia for Rob. Now, laughing and smiling, he reflects that a world without a memory can still be a happy one.

Still fit
Strong and healthy as a young man, Wallace has always loved sport and being outside. His loss of vision has meant that he has had to find other ways to exercise, but he still manages to keep fit – and positive.

There was never much question about what Wendy would do for a career. From her earliest days, caring came naturally to her and she was determined to work to the highest standards, despite the parsimonious attitude of private care home managers. Nowadays, working in the voluntary sector, Wendy continues to care for people with dignity and respect, while feeling valued and respected herself.

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