The goal of this study was (1) to determine whether and how nursing home residents with dementia respond to the interactive art installation in general and (2) to identify whether responses change when the content type and, therefore, the nature of the interaction with the artwork changes. The interactive art installation ‘VENSTER’ evokes responses in nursing home residents with dementia, illustrating the potential of interactive artworks in the nursing home environment. Frequently observed responses were naming, recognizing or asking questions about depicted content and how the installation worked, physically gesturing towards or tapping on the screen and tapping or singing along to the music. It seemed content matters a lot. When VENSTER is to be used in routine care, the choice of a type of content is critical to the intended experience/usage in practice. In this study, recognition seemed to trigger memory and (in most cases) a verbal reaction, while indistinctness led to asking for more information. When (initially) coached by a care provider, residents actively engaged physically with the screen. Responses differed between content types, which makes it important to further explore different types of content and content as an interface to provide meaningful experiences for nursing home residents.
•Implications for rehabilitation
•VENSTER can facilitate different types of responses ranging from verbal reactions to active physical engagement. The choice of a type of content is critical to the intended experience/usage in practice.
•Activating content seems suitable for use as a meaningful experience during the spare time in between existing activities or therapy.
•Sessions with interactive content are short (avg. 30 mins) and intense and can therefore potentially be used as an activating therapy, activity or exercise.
•In order to actively engage residents with dementia, the role of the care provider seems very important.