Ben Hicks: A study to explore the potential benefits of computer game technology for older men with dementia who reside in rural areas of Dorset

Researcher: Ben Hicks

I am a psychologist by background and have nearly ten years research experience within the field of health and well-being. My previous research roles have involved working with people with physical and mental health conditions. Over the past two years my    research has moved into the field of dementia and I recently developed guidance for carers wishing to implement and use information and communication technology (ICT) with people with dementia as part of a project funded by the Social Care Institute for     Excellence (SCIE).

Since joining  Bournemouth University Dementia Institute (BUDI) in October 2012 as a full time Doctoral Student I have undertaken a number of projects in addition to my PhD study. These have included a scoping exercise of UK Dementia Care Nursing Research for the Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN) and developing a model of dementia care for GuildCare care homes.

My Doctoral research is part-funded by Age UK Dorchester and aims to explore the use of computer game         technology as a means of promoting social interaction, physical activity and cognitive stimulation in older men with dementia who reside in rural areas of Dorset. This will be achieved by setting up five technology activity groups for older men with dementia in various rural areas of Dorset. Each group will be participant-led and run for three months. Within these groups, men with dementia will have the opportunity to use various pieces of computer game technology such as the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, iPad and the Xbox Kinect.

A participatory approach will be adopted to collect data and evaluate the outcomes of the groups. Following the completion of the research, guidance documentation will be developed in collaboration with the participants, which will outline how rural communities can implement and evaluate technology activity groups.

This link to the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) gives more information on the ways BUDI’s research is showing care providers the benefits of using ICT and new technology for those with dementia:



KENNEDY F., HICKS B. & YARKER J. (2013) European Journal of Cancer Care

Work stress and cancer researchers: an exploration of the challenges, experiences and training needs of UK       cancer researchers

Tyers C, Hicks B, Baxter K, Gilbert M (2012) Learning from the Occupational Health provision on the Olympic Build. Policy and Practice in Health and Safety. Issue 2 , pp. 103-123(21)

Munir, F., Yarker, J., Hicks, B. & Donaldson-Feilder, E. (2012). Returning Employees Back to Work: Developing a     measure for supervisors to support return to work (SSRW). Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 22, 196-208.


Conference Presentations in 2013:

Research that breaks the Heart workshop in Oxford Brookes University (January): Challenges and work                  experiences of UK Oncology researchers

Alzheimer Disease International Conference in Taipei (May): Developing guidance for carers to implement and use ICT to improve the well-being of people with dementia

British Society of Gerontology in Oxford (September): Use of computer technology to benefit people with dementia and their carers

Alzheimer Europe in Malta (October): Using gaming technology to benefit people with dementia: Results from a Technology Club.


Research Awards:

Santander PGR mobility award: I won money to visit and work with the Universidad del Rosario in Bogota,    Colombia. I spent two weeks, over July and August 2013, delivering a four day workshop aimed at students and medical professionals on the sociological approach to dementia.

In addition to leading the workshop, I also visited Nocaima, a rural community on the outskirts of Bogota, where work is on-going to promote a healthy municipality by focusing on education and health care.

Discussions are currently being undertaken to develop potential post-doctoral work on creating a dementia friendly municipality.

You can find out more about BUDI’s trip to Colombia here:

To find more about BUDI click here.