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The University of Southampton
Getting out and about: using technologies for safer walking


(C) Shaeron-Caton Rose Labyrinths

Why now

In light of rapid technological advances, and the right of people with dementia to expect effective measures to be taken to facilitate their personal mobility and social inclusion (United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with a Disability, Article 20), this project focuses on the use of technologies to promote safer walking for people with dementia.

The purpose of this three-phase qualitative project is to examine the usage and effectiveness of technologies to promote safer walking from the perspectives of the police and people with dementia through a process of participative inquiry. Our research aim is to examine the effectiveness and acceptability of using technologies to promote safer walking for people with dementia. 

The research question driving the proposed study is twofold:


The research approach

There are three phases to this research. The project is Hampshire based.

Phase 1 of the research involves focus group interviews with people who are using technologies and police who are involved with vulnerable adults who may need help, or who are involved with missing persons investigations. Over the summer of 2016, six focus group interviews wiill be held in central Southampton with:

Phase 2 of the research involves individual interviews with people using technologies to help with safer walking. These interviews will be at the person's home and a researcher will accompany the person out walking, on two occasions. With permission, some photographs and short video clips will record aspects of the walk and these will be used for discussion in a sit down interview. Family members will also be interviewed.

Phase 3 of the research involves the co-production of practical guidance. The research team will work with people with dementia, their families, practitioners, police, and industry to produce practical guidance for different groups of users. The guidance aims to help people decide about whether technologies would help them, and if so, what would work best. Guidance will be produced for:


This research project adopts a qualitative participative approach to centralise the lived experience of people with dementia, their familiy members and the police.

As part of the participative inquiry people with dementia, family members, police, industry and health and social care professionals are involved as advisors throughout the project so that the findings and the guidance are relevant to people who use them.

People who have experience of dementia are acknowledged as experts who contribute complementary knowledge to that generated through the research process. In this research, people with dementia and family members were consulted about the design of the research. A group of people with dementia and family carers formed an advisory group, Sage, to advise on the implementation of the project, and to help guide prioritisation of the research findings.


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