ECRA Member Viktoria Hoel

Positive social interactions are essential to a good and stable relationship between people with dementia and their caregivers, and a prerequisite for coping and living well with dementia. My research therefore explores the role of technology in facilitating social interaction and thereby caregiving relationships in a dementia context.

Dementia research has traditionally been focused on either the neuro-biological or psycho-biological aspects of the disease, with little attention dedicated to the concept of social health in dementia caregiving. However, this is an important aspect for a healthy ageing process in adulthood and old age, not only people living with a dementia diagnosis, but also their family caregivers. 75% of all people with dementia in Germany live at home with support of their family members. Taking on a caregiving role for can not only be mentally and physically exhausting, but also socially, as maintaining a close relationship and positive social interactions can become increasingly difficult as the disease progresses.
On the flipside, maintaining a good caregiving relationship can enhance social health, slow the progression of functional and cognitive decline, as well as delaying institutionalization.
My research takes place in the sphere where social health in dementia caregiving meets technology. Specifically, I am assessing the effects of a tablet-based activation system specifically designed to actively engage people with dementia in meaningful activities together with their caregiver. Technology shows great promise in promoting social interactions and communication between people with dementia and their caregiver, and the objective of my research is to evaluate how technology-supported social interaction can facilitate social health for both care recipient and caregiver, support their relationship, and reducing the perceived burden of caregiving.

Contact:

Viktoria Hoel
University of Bremen
Institute for Public Health and Nursing Science
Abteilung 7: Pflegewissenschaftliche Versorgungsforschung
Grazer Straße 4
28359 Bremen, Germany
Telefon: +47 93031134
E-Mail: hoel@uni-bremen.de

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