Elephant: Design for dementia

A practical solution to problems we face during early stages of dementia.

A collaboration project between StudioBrown and Matt Corrall working for Kinneir Dufort. 2012.
A suite of products designed to help dementia sufferers stay independent for longer.
Dementia is a worldwide, social problem. Once someone is diagnosed though, what is the immediate next step?
In the early stages, is there a chance to cope more by yourself rather than rely on the help of others? Can sufferers be helped by tackling their dementia sooner? Can they safeguard their independence for longer, easing strain on the patient-carer relationship?
Life at home is greatly affected by changes in memory, which depends on time, location and state of mind. Dementia wipes thoughts as one moves between rooms, and tasks become difficult to complete. Looking at memory in the context of daily life suggests new product interventions and new habits to empower the sufferer.
Whilst paper notes are easily lost or crumpled, this universal card system is more memorable, retainable and tactile. Notes can be carried using a personal device and jotted down wherever and whenever thoughts occur. A simple, intuitive timer allows sufferers to take further control by using their own subtle reminders and pacers.
Life is full of important letters and documents, but the impaired brain is taxed by stacks of paper. Content hidden from view becomes difficult retain and the missed information becomes a frustration. Instead, 'memory frames' prove the visibility and graphical contrast needed, prioritising and drawing attention to information in the home environment. 
Planning and orientation needs a real location, or 'anchor.' The planner lives in a specific location in the home and aids use with simplified layout, language and use of colour. The visible time span focuses on a manageable, two week period.
Essential living items need not be lost by giving them a defined location in the home environment. The tray serves as a defined place for those objects we need everyday, making them more memorable and providing a level of reassurance.
Dementia is a complex impairment, affecting cognition, memory and related functions. Those who can and wish to better manage their lives can be assisted by additional 'advanced' products. Remembering is one thing, but the storage of thoughts is critical to make sense of organisation. The following additions work as organisational tools, helping the brain to recall and support lost patterns.
The small file promotes reuse of 'favourite' cards such as travel notes or shopping lists. Three simple sections and the same uncluttered layouts and colour use as the planner enable sufferers to do more with confidence. The large file for A4 documents features 'bookmarks' that allow a link to be made between two locations. For example, between papers in the large file and in the attention frames.
Leaving the home for the outside world threatens dementia sufferers in countless ways. Just as clothes offer us physical and psychological protection, so too can the ordering of our essential things. Wallets and bags are ingrained in our habits - how could they be designed to better suit the needs of dementia sufferers?
Brain impairment impacts our behaviour in response to public environments.For dementia sufferers, the supermarket queue can be a nightmare of escalating intensity, limiting what they're capable of in the moment. A new integrated wallet /bag that allows safer, more organised access to 'existence tools' may reassure, reduce anxiety and help sufferers cope. Features such as a retractable key lanyard and immediate wallet access reduce the liklihood of loss or error, and in turn reassure and ease stress in 'outside' environments such as the supermarket.
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