Helping Patients With Dementia Live Well

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow unveiled a range of new design prototypes at the Design Council that can help people with dementia to live well, which included a fragrance-release system designed to stimulate appetite, specially-trained ‘guide dogs for the mind’ and an intelligent wristband that supports people with dementia to stay active safely.

The innovative designs will be a large step forward in achieving some of the commitments the Prime Minister recently announced in his challenge on dementia. The Design Council, together with the Department of Health, ran a national competition that was open to designers and experts, in order to develop new ideas to help improve the lives of people suffering from dementia.

Five teams designed innovative product concepts and services under the guidance of in-depth research and people affected by dementia. The results are prototypes that will undergo further testing so they can be developed with commercial partners so that some or all of these designs will be widely available as soon as possible.

The new designs introduced at the Design Council are:

The Design Council will showcase the new prototypes in a purpose-built exhibition on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 April 2012.

Paul Burstow, Care Services Minister, explained:

“Fear of dementia can leave people feeling powerless and trapped, leaving them isolated and unsupported. That is why we have worked with the Design Council to drive innovation in dementia care. The five winning ideas have the potential to make a big difference for people with dementia and their families. The Design Council work is part of our wider drive to make our country dementia friendly. Today we go further with our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society to challenge cities, towns and villages up and down the land to lead a revolution in how people think about dementia.

Working with businesses, Councils, the local NHS and community groups our immediate goal is a network of 20 dementia friendly cities, towns and villages to lead the way.”

Chief Executive of the Design Council David Kester, added:

“A consequence of an ageing population is a threefold increase in dementia over the past twenty years. That means there are many millions of people who need new products and services designed to meet their changing needs. This project demonstrates that if you put the people who are living with dementia, including carers, at the centre of the design process, you end up with rapid and inspiring innovation. It’s just what we need right now – both for our local communities and for UK enterprise.”

Professor Alistair Burns, The National Clinical Director for Dementia, commented:

“We’re tackling dementia on a variety of levels, and whilst research into effective treatments is progressing, it’s vital that we develop new ways to improve key aspects of life for those with the condition, and their carers. I have no doubt that the prototypes shown today could have a major positive impact on quality of life, continuity of care and the wellbeing of those with dementia.”

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, declared:

“These innovative products have the potential to make a big difference to the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers. They could help people feel supported and enable them to live independently for longer. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister threw down the gauntlet to all of us to help improve the picture for people with dementia. This competition provides one example of how this can be done. We now need to rally more people behind the cause. From the boardroom to bus drivers we all have a role to play.”