All About Dementia

Dr. Judith Roberts speaking to the students about the stages of Dementia.

For week 2 of Enterprise by Design, the newly formed teams got an informative, heartfelt insight into what it’s like to live with a condition that affects 850,000 people in the UK: dementia. Our blog post last week talks about this year’s challenge for the teams, developing an idea to make North Wales more memorable. If you want to read more about EBD or this year’s challenge, check out the blog post here

Dr. Judith Roberts from the School of Psychology gave a presentation on Dementia and walked the students through the various types and the effects it has on the loves of those who are diagnosed with it. Dementia is not a disease in its own right, and not simply an effect of ageing, but a number of different conditions affecting the brain, such as Alzheimer’s, Vascular dementia and Dementia with Lewy Bodies. Dementia affects nerve cells within the brain, causing nerve cells to die and shrinking the brain. Because of this, it affects people’s everyday lives, from day to day memory loss, organization and planning and language and visual perception.

For each person, Dementia affects them differently, and it can often cause sufferers to limit their social lifestyle out of embarrassment from forgetting things like names and directions. Dr. Roberts walked through the stages of dementia with the students, from early stages of symptoms like confusion to mid stages of poor mobility and disorientation to later stages of loss of communication and bed or wheelchair confinement. Unfortunately, there is no currently no cure for dementia. 

The Dilemma with Dementia

She explained that dementia not only affects the patients, but the everyday lives of family members and loved ones, who either have to give round the clock care to those living with dementia after a certain point, or have to hire carers. Because of risks such as falling, wandering out of the home, and aggression, many of those suffering from dementia can feel a large loss of independence and solitude from having to be put in isolation for their safety. Though the safety of sufferers of dementia is of course, top priority, this does sometimes leave them with limited lives. 

Students are challenged to think outside the box to come up with concepts to help sufferers of dementia, their loved ones or carers to make experiences more manageable and memorable. 

Preliminary Team Ideas 

From the presentations, the teams began brainstorming some ideas of products that could be useful for either patients, carers or family members. Here’s some of the teams ideas! 

  • A platform for patients or carers to be able to communicate with friends or other dementia suffers online, to help combat isolation inside.
  • Deliverable packages for dementia patients that are engaging way to help them relearn skills
  • A device that could be used to help dementia patients with sleeping at night. 

What kind of ideas would you come up with to help dementia patients? Leave ideas in the comments below! 

Teams learning about the Life Reminisce App-The Book of You

Learning about the Book of You

One product that was a great example for the teams to hear about, is the app The Book of You. Described as a life reminiscence app, the Book of You is a tool that can be used by dementia sufferers that can include photos, words, video, music and voice recordings. This app is showing dementia from another point of view, product and service and enterprise design.

The service helps people be able to live well with dementia by bringing memories of family, achievements, friendship and ancestry to their fingertips, combatting some of the hardships of dementia such as isolation and limited socialization. The Book of You is customizable to every person, and is easily accessible to patients and carers to be able to experience old photographs, hear audio clips and share digital artefacts with family across the world.

Going forward, the teams are left with challenging aspects of their ideas to think about over the next week. How will their product be helpful in the tourism market? How can their product be experienced by a carer, family member and the end user? What are the best ways their product can be marketed in an area like dementia which often has a difficulty finding funding? Some of these questions will become easier as the weeks go on, follow our blog next week as we talk about marketing opportunities! 

The biggest take away from this week is the reminder that sufferers of dementia are still people. Students are encouraged to remember the person underneath the condition and to look at the larger picture of developing ways that a product can help sufferers live a happier, more fulfilled life despite dementia! 

To learn more about the Book of You, visit their website here!