Designers enlist dogs and scent clocks in bid to tackle dementia

Five projects, including an initiative to train thinking dogs for dementia and an appetite-stimulating ‘scent clock’ are being developed as part the Design Council and the Department of Health’s £360 000 challenge to help people living with dementia.

One Million
A million people in the UK will be living with dementia by 2021, the Department of Health says

The Living Well With Dementia challenge was launched in August, seeking five multidisciplinery teams to work on projects and each receive a share of the £360 000 pot.

The five projects, which have now been announced, are:

• Dogs for people with early stage dementia, a project which will explore the potential for dogs to help people with dementia maintain independence. By Alzheimer Scotland, a product design team from Glasgow School of Art and Dogs for the Disabled.

• The ‘scent clock’, a device which will emit scents to stimulate appetite and improve nutrition. By Rodd Design, the Olfactory Experience, Gwen Coleman and Crossmodel Research Lab and the University of Oxford.

• A discreet wristband for people with dementia, which will provide user identification, personal monitoring and emergency alert functions. By Buddi and Sebastian Conran Associates.

• A web and mobile-based service for carers of people with dementia that will help them find flexible work. By Creo Strategic Solutions, A+B Studio, Fly Design and Feed Henry.

• Grouple, an online and physical set of tools to help families support relatives with dementia. By Studiohead, BT Innovate & Design, Louise Wilson, Ifong Lu, Meike Walcha and Jewish Care.

The five projects were selected by a board chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross, chief executive of the International Longevity Centre.

The teams now have 20 weeks to develop their ideas and will be given professional support. They will showcase the projects early next year.

Mat Hunter, chief design officer at the Design Council, says, ‘This is the latest example of design taking a pioneering role, in rethinking what it means to live well with dementia.

‘The challenge has prompted some new and unusual collaborations between designers and industry experts and they have created an inspired range of solutions.’

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