Designing for dementia

A compass that always points home, a clever calendar which audibly tells you that it is time for your medication, or a Smartphone that puts you into contact with several informal caregivers with one push of a button.

TU/e PhD candidate Rens Brankaert hopes that patients with early dementia can stay at home longer thanks to such innovations: often that is not only pleasant for the patients themselves, but for public finances as well.

People suffering from early dementia do not only have trouble remembering things, but also lose their spatial orientation and their grip on time. By means of clever technology you can try to alleviate the everyday problems caused as a result. Still, it is difficult to predict which tools are effective within that context, says Rens Brankaert, a PhD candidate at Industrial Design at Technical University Eindhoven.

The clever calendar began as Brankaert’s graduation project; it is a weekly overview somewhere between an ordinary calendar and a clock. The calendar contains a mechanical reader which moves across the weekly schedule real time, and gives a signal when it is time for one of the activities – indicated by a colored picture fitted with an RFID tag. By means of light and auditory signals patients are called to go to the calendar, where they are then told by a voiceover that it is time to take their medication, that it is time to eat, or that the weekly card-playing night is coming up again.

Source: cursor.tue.nl
Editing for Eindhoven News: Chuan Nie

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