People living with dementia collaborating in a joint activity

Screenshot from CIRCA.
Elsevier, Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, Volume 34, June 2022
Ingebrand E., Samuelsson C., Hyden L.-C.

Recent research has stressed the collaborative competences of people living with dementia, showing how they are capable of participating in a multitude of everyday activities when supported by cognitively healthy individuals. However, little is known about the collaborative work between different people living with dementia. Accordingly, this study aims to explore how people living with dementia, without the support of a cognitively healthy interlocutor, collaborate with other people living with dementia in an unfamiliar activity. The study is based on video recordings of three dyads, each comprising two individuals living with dementia, as they are using tablet computers with reminiscence and communication aiding applications. Drawing on multimodal interaction analysis, we show how the participants living with dementia treat the activities as joint endeavors and, when needed, engage in problem-solving sequences where they make their knowledge about how to progress within the activities publicly visible to their interlocutor. Our findings suggest that people living with dementia do collaborate with each other, and that the interactional labor between different people living with dementia is more symmetrical than what has been described in joint activities involving people living with dementia and cognitively healthy individuals.