For some, going to the zoo can be just too much. That’s why this summer the Sacramento Zoo partnered with a nonprofit and medical professionals to make the space more accessible to sensory sensitive individuals that live with autism, dementia, PTSD and similar conditions.
Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria has launched a new app providing carers with ideas to make their home more accessible for people living with dementia.
The sense of smell is closely tied to memory, a fact that designers made use of when they developed Ode, a fragrance disperser designed to help people with dementia remember to eat. People with dementia often begin to eat less and suffer from weight loss, which can trigger other health problems. The high quality food aromas released by Ode are designed to subtly reawaken an interest in food and eating, as well as remind people to eat at specific times of the day. There are three different scents in each Ode and each scent can be programmed to come on at a specific time of day. The product is still going through trials and is not yet for sale, but initial trials suggest that the product might help people living with dementia develop healthier eating behaviors, like eating meals more regularly and eating more food at each sitting.
Dr. Birgit Dietz explains the background thoughts in the development of the age and dementia-sensitive washbasin, which she designed together with HEWI. She is a visiting lecturer in the Hospital and Health Sector Building department of Munich’s Technical University and has her own architectural firm in Bamberg.
Although many people associate dementia primarily with memory loss, those who have lost loved ones to the condition know that dementia can transform everyday tasks into major hurdles. Inspired by her own grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, designer Sha Yao created Eatwell, atableware set designed for people with dementia and other impairments. Ingeniously designed to make eating easier for people with cognitive and motor difficulties, Eatwell has the potential to make life less stressful both for those coping with a variety of physical and cognitive disorders and for their caretakers. Yao explained to Fast Company,
A doctor I interviewed for this story told me something that stuck with me. He said for every person with dementia he treats, he finds himself caring for two patients. That’s how hard it can be to be a caregiver for someone with dementia.
Located in The Netherlands town of Weesp is a special gated village called Hogeweyk. It is notable because it has been designed specifically as a pioneering care facility for elderly people with dementia. The setting has been compared to that depicted in the film The Truman Show with doctors, nurses and specialists working around the clock to provide the 152 residents the necessary 24-hour care.
Chloe Meineck designed this Music Memory Box after studying the way that familiar music can help people with dementia connect with memories of their past. Meineck worked closely with her client, Barbara, to find and produce various objects that Barbara can associate with specific memories of different family members. Each object is outfitted with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, so that when an object is placed in the center of the box a corresponding piece of music automatically begins to play.
Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.