…and make it yours
Deva is the world’s first dementia-friendly digital world.
Share, create, collaborate, laugh!
Meet Julie, your companion…
Grounded in science
Deva World was built from the ground up with a residential community receiving full-time memory care, informed by dementia therapy best practices.
The caregiver/player relationship is integrated at the design level. This joint experience is key to players’ improved mood and sense of wellbeing.
The project is the brainchild of Australian media personality-turned social-scientist, Mandy Salomon PhD, who, while researching online virtual communities at Melbourne’s Swinburne University, observed that people can be more themselves in a virtual world than they can in the actual world.
Using Deva at home
This scenario that will be familiar to the millions of unpaid caregivers who typically spend more than 9 hours per day caring for loved ones. Hours spent away from paid employment makes it tougher for families to afford in-home help and respite care, which, in turn, increases family stress and reduces well-being.
Here’s how Deva could assist.
Meet Tatiana, Linda, and Alex
[Special thanks to Diva Félix, who contributed these wonderful storyboard illustrations]
Tatiana is 78-years old and was diagnosed with dementia three years ago. Russian born, Tatiana lives with her daughter, Linda, and Linda’s two children Alex and Lucy. Linda is one of the so-called ‘sandwich generation’: she looks after both the generation above and below her. She also works part-time and is the family’s sole income earner.
At tea time, Tatiana sits at the table, her head down. She seems disconnected and depressed. The children used to love spending time with their Baba; she would read to them and tell them stories about life in Russia. But these days Tatiana seems tired all the time and hardly speaks. When she does, her words are jumbled and often in her mother tongue, which her grandchildren don’t understand. Alex and Lucy are less connected to Tatiana than before. However, recently, at Linda’s request, Alex uploaded photos of the village where Tatiana was born onto the Deva dashboard. The task fired his interest and he wanted to know more about the old school and the children wearing scarves who stood in front of it.
After tea, Tatiana seems agitated. She starts fiddling and sighing and can’t seem to settle. Linda takes out her iPad, onto which Deva is installed.
Linda and Tatiana sit shoulder-to-shoulder and begin a Deva session. Linda helps her understand that she must tap on the screen to activate objects and holds her hand, helping her to tap the screen effectively. The opening curtains part as gentle music plays, and Tatiana sees a recent photo of herself on the first screen. That makes Tatiana smile. “Am I there?”, she asks. Linda assures her, “yes, that’s you”. Tatiana looks at her intently, and says, “darling, darling, darling, thank you!”
Tatiana notices a book about Russia sitting on a table in Deva’s living room. She taps on the cover and the book opens. Thanks to Alex, her village photos are in place, as well as photos of sites she had visited as a young woman. Tatiana instantly recognizes the locations and, returning to English, uses personal the pronouns, “I, my, me, we”, indicating that what she is looking at gives her a sense of presence and belonging. Tatiana and Linda spend a good 20 minutes exploring Deva World, tapping on objects to bring them to life and singing favorite folk songs that they find on the record player inside the world.
It is clear to Linda that Tatiana’s mood had changed, so she ends the session and the two chat all the way down the corridor to Tatiana’s bedroom, where, with Linda’s help, Tatiana prepares for bed.
Professor June Andrews,
Dementia Services Development Centre,
Stirling University, UK
John Zeisel, PhD,
I'm Still Here Foundation
& Hearthstone Alzheimer Care,
Recreation therapist CTRS,
Certified Validation teacher,
part time student caring for his grandmother full-time