UCL News


UCL in the News: Designers' hi-tech take on dementia

12 March 2008

Mark Gould, 'The Guardian' Confused? Drop into your neighbourhood Memory Clinic to get a quick check-up.

Can't remember the name of a favourite niece or nephew? It's OK, they're are all on your Mind Book - described as a Facebook for dementia sufferers.

These ideas are part of the shortlist of six entries for the Design Business Association's inclusive design challenge, in association with the Helen Hamlyn Centre. Designers were asked to come up with practical solutions for day-to-day problems of dementia. …

Mind Book, from Adare Creative, and Tapestry, from N1 Creative, have used Facebook-type programmes to help people with dementia provide a clear picture of their life history, likes and dislikes. …

Maria Parsons [UCL Population Health], one of the judges, is executive director of the London Centre for Dementia Care, UCL. With the number of people with dementia set to double to 1.5 million by 2050, she says designers have to start thinking about making our lives easier. "My generation, the baby boomers, are the ones who will be affected. We have grown up with technology that wouldn't be dreamed of 15 years ago and we won't accept national health walking sticks. We want things that are funky, quirky and beautiful.

"The Facebook-style entries mean that I can take a DVD with me wherever I go and it's my back-story; carers can say, 'Do you want your Van Morrison now?'"