Kanvar Nayer

MemoryBox: A personalised multimedia system for people living with dementia

PhD candidate

  • Dr Kanvar Nayer

Supervisors

Co-supervisors

  • Dr Tanya Davison
    Professor Daniel O’Connor
    Eva van der Ploeg
    Aged Mental Health Research Unit

In memory of my grandparents – I wanted to develop a non-medicinal intervention that improves the quality of lives of people living with dementia, as well their caregivers and family members.

Dr Kanvar Nayer

As symptoms of dementia exacerbate, family members typically face the depressing task of having to rapidly move their loved-ones to aged-care facilities for professional care. However, given their busy schedules, caregivers are unable to offer as much interface to residents as they would like. Residents may therefore experience common problems such as social-isolation, boredom and even depression.

While psychotropic medicines are effective in alleviating severe behaviours like agitation and aggression, their use is also associated with adverse side-effects that may restrict residents’ movement, as well as affect their minds, emotions and behaviour. This encourages the use of non-medicinal interventions that can address such symptoms without the adversity of chemical restraints.

Personalised multimedia interventions are reported to be effective in reducing some symptoms of dementia, while touchscreen technology has demonstrated its efficacy in providing a degree of autonomy to people living with dementia.

Dr Nayer’s research resulted in the development of a non-medicinal intervention called ‘MemoryBox’ – a personalised multimedia system that has shown potential in:

  • addressing the common problems of social isolation and boredom;
  • reducing depression and anxiety in residents with mild impairment;
  • reducing agitation in residents with moderate or severe impairment;
  • providing a high degree of autonomy to people with mild or moderate impairment; and
  • adapting to the different impairment levels of dementia.

This innovative intervention represents a significant contribution to the dementia space by demonstrating that with such a system, the current generation of people living with dementia could independently access their favourite media, attain a higher degree of self-reliance and restore a sense of joy and contentment not only in their own, but also in their family members’ and caregivers’ lives.