Dementia, a trending topic at the Graduation Show of the Dutch Design Week.
The number of people with dementia is growing steadily and will increase further in the future. This topic seemed to have inspired students of the Design Academy in Eindhoven. There were 3 students that stood out for me. Sanne Ree Barthels wants to help people with dementia to connect with others. She developed three mobile ‘interview units’ ranging from a mini-kitchen for making apple pie, to a rollator bench with knitting supplies, to a seat with a hooded hairdryer. She says that an intimate physical space accomplishes more than verbal communication alone.
Anne Feikje made a blanket that addresses the need of Alzheimer patients. The architecture of care establishments and the objects designed to be used in care institutions are often purely functional, with little attention to tactility, aesthetics or stimulating elements. The ‘Re-Covered’ blanket helps Alzheimer patients, whose loss of cognitive abilities causes significant levels of stress; their world becomes increasingly blurred and difficult to understand. Increased emphasis on the physical senses can offer relief. Re-covered stimulates the sensory system, muscles an joints by manipulating pressure point on the body. Its 8 kg weight has a calming effect and improves the patient’s emotional and physical well-being.
Last but not least, Allesia Cadamuro with her design What Remains. What Remains is a design research project that is part of a larger investigation into how game elements can be used as motivational triggers to stimulate Alzheimer patients physically and socially.