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New board game boosts confidence and wellbeing for people with dementia

New board game boosts confidence and wellbeing for people with dementia

A new life-storytelling board game - All About Us - has been released to help boost the self-confidence and wellbeing of people with dementia as they adjust to their diagnosis. 

University of Wolverhampton researchers joined forces with professional care experts, designers, people with dementia and other international university researchers to jointly develop the game. 

The game uses questions as conversation starters to enable players to reminisce about their childhood, think about their hopes for the future and what is important to them in their lives. 

Developing the game alongside people living with dementia helped ensure it is effective and is evaluated by published research. 

All About Us has been launched in collaboration between dementia wellbeing specialists Relish and researchers from the multinational project MinD – Designing for People with Dementia and co-ordinated by the University of Wolverhampton.  

During the four-year project, the University of Wolverhampton School of Art managed staff exchange research visits by over 70 participants from 18 partner organisations.  

Dr Tina Smith and Dr Jennifer Lim, from the University of Wolverhampton’s Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, were part of the MinD project team involved in the development and evaluation of the game.  

Dr Tina Smith said: “It was a great experience to be part of a multinational team and work alongside people with dementia in the research and design process, in such a positive and meaningful way.  It’s excellent to see the research culminating in the release of the game for sale to the public. This is a great example of putting research into practice, with the development of a product that has the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of people with dementia.” 

Maggie Ayliffe, Head of the University of Wolverhampton School of Art said: “This project was a great opportunity to show how creative fields like design can have a real impact on people’s lives. It allowed designers and researchers to work directly with people with dementia and involve them in the design process, which was a valuable experience.  

“This type of collaboration is key for successful design and forms part of an increasing portfolio of work at the School enabling artists and designers to use their creative skills to ‘give voice’ to wide range of health care issues affecting our communities.” 

MinD developed and evaluated a prototype of the game during research into how best to create new inspirational materials for people diagnosed with dementia that could instil greater positivity in managing their everyday lives and facing the future with confidence.    

Receiving a dementia diagnosis is trying for most people, and participants told researchers that materials provided to them to help them understand the disease are often too generic or focus too much on the illness and not enough on preserving quality of life. 

MinD used the innovative concept of mindful design to produce a range of materials that encourage self-empowerment, including the board game.  

The game was developed and tested as part of the project, which was led by Professor Niedderer initially from the University of Wolverhampton and then from Manchester Metropolitan University, and involved Alzheimer Europe, four healthcare services across Europe including the NHS, four design agencies as well as several universities. 

All About Us is already being used by some of the MinD partners in their therapy groups and is now for sale on the Relish website and via online retailers. 

Research, which evaluated the game with 50 people living with dementia and their carers across four countries who played All About Us, is published in the Journal of Aging Studies and evidences the benefits of the game.  

Participants in the evaluation said that the game, which is based on a combination of life-storytelling and mindfulness, was enjoyable, helped them learn and accept the past and present situation, and that they felt that looking forward into the future together with others could be helpful.  

The study demonstrates that design can be a useful means to support people with dementia in their emotional wellbeing, social engagement and sense of agency. 

Ben Atkinson-Willes, founder and CEO of Relish, said: “Enabling wellbeing for people with dementia is what drives us. Pivotal to that in early to mid-stages of dementia is maintaining a sense of identity and purpose, and of course, relationships. The All About Us boardgame concept lifts these emotional levers in a wonderfully engaging way where people with dementia, their families and carers can all take part together. We’re proud to be able to make this game a reality and hope that it brings joy to many.” 

Find out more about the University's research in these publications:  

Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days. 

For more information contact the Corporate Communications Team 


Notes for Editors 

All About Us design 

All About Us is designed to encourage a supportive atmosphere in which all people can take part as equal players. The game hinges on one’s personal life path, from childhood through to older age. 

Each player takes a turn by throwing the dice, moving the counter, and selecting, reading out and answering a question card about their life experiences.  Divided into the decades of life, players answer questions that provide conversation starters about memories and the future, favourite activities, the people in their lives, personal skills, likes and values, dreams and wishes.  

Players can explore themselves and each other, talking about their experiences, motivations, achievements, relationships and identity, linking the past, the present and future.  

The game has been designed with those affected by dementia in mind, featuring bright, contrasting colours, clear recognisable shapes, a large typeface and easily holdable cards for those with reduced dexterity.   

The MinD ( project was undertaken with the support of the European Marie Skłodowska-Curie RISE programme (GA 691001), to develop innovative design solutions for people with dementia.  

The project brought together 17 partners from 8 different countries, including researchers, designers and health-care professionals, to develop a game that actively improves quality of life. MinD worked with over 100 people with early to mid-stage dementia, family members and carers from 4 European countries during the research and design process, including the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain.  

Key links 



Evaluation paper in the Journal of Aging Studies: 


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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