Reminiscence Therapy for People Living with Dementia using Virtual Reality


Dr. Linda Duffett-Leger is an Associate Professor with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary and a user experience designer. She comes on the show today to talk about her current research project on the use of virtual reality in reminiscence therapy.

We’re all aging, and everyone’s talking about it!

Key Takeaways

[:39] Jenna introduces today’s guest, Dr. Linda Duffett-Leger, Associate Professor with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary, and a user experience designer.

[1:15] Dr. Duffett-Leger talks about the research she is doing in nursing homes: a non-pharmacological approach aimed at reducing the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: apathy, depression, sleep disturbances, and anxiety.

[2:45] Reminiscence therapy involves using one or more of a person’s 5 senses to aid them in remembering past life events and people, and it has demonstrated a positive effect on people with dementia.

[4:49] Dr. Duffett-Leger explains how her research uses virtual reality in reminiscence therapy to provide a 3D immersive experience.

[6:00] She touches on how well the patients with dementia took to the technology as well as the surprise that family members expressed at how interactive the patients became.

[6:40] The 3D scenarios are developed in conjunction with family members and caregivers and tailored to be meaningful to the patients.

[7:28] Aside from the tailor-made 3D environments, Dr. Duffett-Leger shares other unique aspects of this study.

[9:20] Dr. Duffett-Leger breaks down how the multidisciplinary approach serves the study and what each team member brings to the project.

[11:28] Jenna and Dr. Duffett-Leger dive into the importance of user and key stakeholder feedback loops and the early work that needs to be done with the dyads — dementia patient/caregiver.

[18:35] Dr. Duffett-Leger speaks to the aim of the project, to put this kind of intervention tool in the hands of caregivers, to democratize access and enable better autonomy in dementia patients.

[20:45] Jenna thanks Dr. Linda Duffett-Leger for coming on the podcast. Until next time, subscribe, rate, and share!

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Mentioned in this episode

The MileAge Podcast

Brenda Strafford Foundation

“‘Non-pharmacological’ interventions or approaches are science-based and non-invasive methods applied to human health.”

Dr. Gwen McGhan

More about today’s guest

Dr. Linda Duffett-Leger at the University of Calgary