Ageing in place and technologies of place: the lived experience of people with dementia in changing social, physical and technological environments

Sociol Health Illn. 2010 Feb 1;32(2):272-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2009.01203.x. Epub 2009 Dec 9.


Abstract This paper explores the varied meanings and lived experiences of older people with dementia, in relation to everyday technologies in public spaces outside the home, through re-analysis of qualitative data generated from research that focused on the use of technology in supporting people with dementia to carry on with their everyday outside activities. The data have been re-analysed to critically examine how people with memory loss manage being outside in both familiar and unfamiliar public environments. In doing so the authors explore how technologies mediate between the physical and social environment in which people with dementia live. This paper highlights the importance of a neglected space within dementia research, namely the outside public environment. Although the outside environment and activities that take place in that space, for some, are curtailed, for others the physical and social security of familiar environments enables them to carry on with everyday activities in this public realm. Outside space can be both therapeutic and frightening and this paper demonstrates that people with dementia can sometimes feel out of place in public space. It however also shows the variety of ways people with dementia use everyday technologies to manage 'feeling out of place'.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Age Factors
  • Aging*
  • Dementia*
  • Focus Groups
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Environment*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Technology*