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Care Partnership Art Journal

Inspiration, encouragement, and creative prompts to create a collaborative journal with all members of the family & carepartner team.

Photo of Erin
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?

This idea is for the entire care partnership, the person with MCI/dementia, the primary carepartner, family, friends, medical professionals, and anyone else who visits the home or care setting. It is portable, adaptable throughout the dementia disease progression, and can incorporate family and friends who live remotely or only visit occasionally. The collaborative journal becomes an object for conversation and interaction as well as a document of shared life.

This idea is for the entire care partnership, the person with MCI/dementia, the primary carepartner, family, friends, medical professionals, and anyone else who visits the home or care setting. It is portable, adaptable throughout the dementia disease progression, and can incorporate family and friends who live remotely or only visit occasionally. 

The collaborative art journal, like the successful international community art projects such as 1000 Journals and PostSecret, would create a physical memento of the lived experiences of all those involved in the care and life of the person with dementia. Working in the journal can become an interactive project--a positive way to interact and connect that does not require words. The book form can incorporate important photos, memorabilia, and messages from friends and family. As the disease progresses, it can be a place to record memorable interactions, changes, and special or touching moments. As someone's care needs increase and verbal capability decreases, it can be more difficult for care partners to feel connected--projects and interactions designed to rely on nonverbal, tactile, and visual connection will create opportunities for people to maintain their connection or transform it as the disease progresses.

For those with social media accounts, the project will have opportunities to connect with other families to share experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to join an online community for extra prompts, suggestions, and support. This project will be designed to incorporate both completely offline and digitally connected users.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

As an art therapist, I have been working with individual older adults and their families using art journals for the past 7 years. I repeatedly hear from family members how meaningful the book forms are to them--especially because they incorporate the words, phrases, and statements of their loved one. The book form is a safe, familiar container--less intimidating and more accessible for those without art training or background. We will pilot test with family members in our memory care units in CA

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

While this project could run successfully with existing social media platforms, it would be great to partner with someone to develop a companion app. We would also be interested in partnerships around printing, distributing, and creating mail-distributed subscription programs.

How long has your idea existed?

  • Over 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a PhD art therapist and researcher. I have been working in healthcare since 2005 and with older adults since 2010. My research is in the intersection between art, communication, and technology with a specific focus on empowering the elders as partners in inquiry and research.

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Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Erin!

It is great to have you in the challenge. I look forward to seeing how your idea develops.

I would be interested to know how Yessenia and her extended family mentioned on page 5 in the caregiver personas document would use and interact with the Care Partnership Art Journal and how they would find out about it -
https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/2c1f3eff-3c9f-4e4e-bf1b-c1a51bb9d02e.pdf

How could you measure 'success' for the Care Partnership Art Journal?

You might want to check out this idea in the challenge - Focusing on what they DO remember by Isa McPherson 

Photo of Erin
Team

Hi Kate--great question! Yessenia could bring the art journal along with her when she and her grandmother visit the doctor--it would provide engagement and a focus for the difficult experience of waiting in the waiting room (a site likely to prompt frustration and/or agitation because of wait time). She and her grandmother could look through the previously created content, and/or add a new page while waiting. They could also use the art journal beforehand or in the waiting room to document "things we want to ask the doctor"; when done in a creative/imaginative way, it will communicate to the MD that grandma is a whole person, and it will also lessen the stigma/negative feelings around reporting symptoms/disease progression.
As for how they might find out about it--there could be doctor's office outreach, social media posts, and targeted outreach in places family & friends of those with dementia might go to seek information. Yessenia is one of the potential users who might be easier to reach, as she might be more likely to be starting her search on social media.
Success metrics could be measured several different ways--using social media prompts and measuring results, polls sent to users, pre/post measures at project adoption by individual carepartner groups. Most important with a project like this though is that it is qualitatively perceived as successful by the users. This could be measured via ongoing semi-structured interviews, looking at the verbal responses as well as the art-based responses in the book itself (which would also allow for measuring response from the users with dementia--in a way that is inclusive and not reliant on verbal response).