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Design and Dementia

Discussion in 'Researchers, students and professionals' started by Cladams95, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Cladams95

    Cladams95 Registered User

    Mar 20, 2017
    #1 Cladams95, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2017

    I'm a final year undergraduate student currently doing my final year project on design and dementia. I'm hoping to gain a better understanding of how design can impact a person with dementias life, primarily through the use of consumer products.

    If anyone would be willing to share their opinions and/or experiences of using products that are specifically aimed at for use by people with Dementia, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Many thanks.
  2. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Host

    Dec 15, 2012
    hi Cladams95
    maybe you would give some examples of things you know of and are interested in, then members, who often have limited time could comment on the items you mention

    do have a good read around the site as there are many threads discussing aids and gadgets
  3. Cladams95

    Cladams95 Registered User

    Mar 20, 2017

    Hi Shedrech,

    Thank you for your advice. The products I'm primarily interested in are everyday items such as medication dispensers, dementia days of the week clocks, dementia friendly phones, voice recording reminder technology and also products such as Odes that stimulate the appetite of a person to remind them to eat.

    Ideally I would like some first hand opinions on how useful users found these products, or potential problems users may have had with any of these products.

    Thank you again.
  4. HillyBilly

    HillyBilly Registered User

    Dec 21, 2015
    If you use the search facility above, you will find lots of threads in which people "review" their success (or otherwise) in using such gadgets :)
  5. CeliaW

    CeliaW Registered User

    Jan 29, 2009
    Hello Cladams95

    If you do a search on here on the items you mention you will find lots of feedback on what was useful or not and how the usefulness or not changed according to how the symptoms of the pwd altered. I am sure you are aware that there are many different types of dementia with each having it's own range of symptoms and difficulties so you will find a wide range of answers.

    Sent from my SM-G361F using Talking Point mobile app
  6. TJ

    TJ Registered User

    Sep 29, 2016
    For Mum we have a dementia friendly phone, a clock, a medication dispenser and the best thing we've ever purchased is a GPS tracker. Tried a TV remote but still struggling with that one. Happy to give you feedback if you need it

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  7. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    #7 cragmaid, Mar 23, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
    I'm not being negative....honestly I'm not....but most of the gadgets you describe have been tried and have failed eventually. Not because of the gadgets themselves, but because ultimately Dementia robs a patient of the comprehension of the message. For example, a clock saying " today is Thursday March 23rd and it's 10:40 am" means very little to someone whose brain is telling them that today is Sunday and it's suppertime.
    Pill dispensers with or without alarms rely on the user knowing what to do when the pills are dispensed.

    Most devices that work successfully are the more practical type e.g Coloured toilet seats which show where the loo is and where to aim!! Coloured crockery works best because the food can be seen and registered.

    And ultimately, remember that the adage of having seen one person with Dementia means only that.... you've seen one person. Just as no two sufferers are the same means that no two people would get the same benefits from any gadget.

    Keep on trying though... one day you might come up with the perfect aid.
  8. TJ

    TJ Registered User

    Sep 29, 2016
    I think as dementia changes, the way you manage it obviously has to change with it. For periods of time and if introduced at the right time, certain things can be and have been beneficial to us helping care for Mum. We introduced an alarmed pill dispenser a year ago and in that year have only had 2 situations where tablets haven't been taken. Once was due to a battery issue and the other because she went out early and missed the alarm. It's part of Mum's morning routine and yes there may come a time when she no longer understands it but for now it's helped us know she's taken necessary tablets. We're constantly thinking of ways to make Mum's life a little easier if possible and help her maintain some independence. As long as you're aware these aids and gadgets won't necessarily help long term I would always encourage anyone to try anything if you think it will help. Even if it's only for a short time. As you rightly say Cragmaid, what works for one may not work for another.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  9. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Aug 1, 2014
    Victoria, Australia
    Most of the stuff you are talking about before has had different manifestations at different times. I think you need to invent something new, completely and utterly new.

    Have a read around the threads and you will see that any number dementia friendly phones have been designed, most work OK for a while until the PWD could no longer use them and the same thing applies to all the other gadgets. All the pill dispensers, all the special clocks, all the safety alarms, all the universal remotes - done before and most have limited use.

    So try thinking outside the square and come up with something new and unique. Just make sure it works and does the job it's supposed to do.

    Good luck,
  10. carpe diem

    carpe diem Registered User

    Nov 16, 2011
    I'm a great believer in tech and monitors and I don't think my mum would be living alone if her old fashioned house wasn't fitted with monitors, oven guards, phone blocker, tablet dispenser, flood alarms, pir lights, TV internet control, emergency lights etc.
    My main complaint would be standby lights being always on. Any device that has a small standby light will get unplugged.
    When I buy devices I have to research exactly how something works in great detail and read all the reviews. I would like to see more detailed info about products and videos of exactly how they work. A washing machine that beeps constantly when finished is unsuitable. A security camera that has a standby light always on needs to give me that info in its description.
    If someone were to design me the ideal thing it would be self cleaning clothes. Dream on.
  11. Raggedrobin

    Raggedrobin Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    I quite agree Carpe Diem. I remember giving my mother a dvd player with simple instructions but she couldn't remember how to turn it off and had The Snowman playing on a continous loop for over 48 hours, driving her nuts.
  12. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    Well, I hate to say it, but none of your suggested products would have helped my OH. Coloured loo seats might have been useful at some stage, but he usually forgot what to do / where to go after going to the loo! And no, he wasn't reading anything at that stage!
    However, there are some useful pointers above.
  13. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    One of the (many) problems is that the dementia can be well advanced before anyone else realises what is happening. That can mean that the PWD (person with dementia) has already lost the ability to learn how to use something new before carers understand enough of what is going on to look for helpful gadgets and aids :(
  14. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Adult diapers are harder to fix than child's ones. I mean a child one stay on it's place and an adult one needs something around to keep it on place.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point

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