KITE team creates new digital learning tool for understanding dementia

Immersive learning experience uses cinematic display of audio and visual assets to educate audiences about the challenges faced by people living with dementia

Building off  the success of a groundbreaking theatre production and film called Cracked: New Light on Dementia, KITE senior scientist Dr. Pia Kontos and KITE senior research associate Romeo Colobong have launched a new online educational tool designed to nurture understanding of dementia.

Dementia in New Light: A Digital Learning Experience uses a cinematic display featuring audio and visual assets to educate audiences about the challenges faced by people living with dementia, due to the detrimental effects of stigmatization, and provides a roadmap for how society can become more inclusive and supportive.  

“People living with dementia are often thought of as completely unaware of their surroundings and incapable of any meaningful communication,” said Dr. Kontos, who is also a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

“This deprives them of opportunities to be social, make decisions regarding their own care, and legitimizes care that is dehumanizing.”

Project collaborators Drs. Sherry Dupuis, Christine Jonas-Simpson, Julia Gray, and Alisa Grigorovich worked with Dr. Kontos, Colobong, and Forge Media + Design to create this innovative educational initiative.  

It was created in response to feedback from audience members of Cracked who urged the team to create an online educational tool that delved deeper into some of the key messages of the production.  

“The digital learning experience will help audiences understand the perspectives of people living with dementia and their families,” said Colobong. “This will encourage them to challenge their own assumptions and to help to build a better world for people living with dementia.”

Currently, there are over 500,000 Canadians living with dementia today. This number is expected to grow to just under 1 million by 2030.

Given the prevalence of dementia, the team feels that everyone would benefit from using this educational tool – people living with dementia, family caregivers, health care providers, policy makers, and so many more.

There are plans in the works for it to be used to enhance training programs for personal support workers and nurses, providing a much-needed and comprehensive curriculum on stigma and relational caring.  

Those interested in participating in this experience are encouraged to visit Dementia in New Light: A Digital Learning Experience.