Products Created by Students for Elders Living with Dementia
Dementia is not a disease, but rather a group of symptoms. These symptoms include impaired memory, thinking, and social skills. In order to be classified as dementia, the ailment must interfere with daily living, with at least two areas of the brain that are problematic. Individuals with this condition may experience memory loss that may lead them to forget to pay bills or get lost on their way home. Judgment and language can also become impaired. To help elders who suffered from dementia, graduate and undergraduate students from around the globe designed products to serve as memory boosters and quality-of-life enhancers.
Anti-slip Tableware Set
One designer was inspired by her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s disease to create a seven-piece set of anti-slip tableware. The bowl, plates, cups, and utensils are stabilized, have extended handles, and so can be used more easily by patients. This tableware set was created to allow individuals dignity when they eat, and to ease the burden on caregivers. These dishes and utensils are made from bright colors with attractive styling details, so not only are they functional, they are beautiful. Studies have shown that people with mental impairments consume more food and beverages when they are served meals in and on brightly colored tableware.
Using GPS technology, patients’ neighborhoods and details about loved ones are input into devices to preserve memories and family records. The goal of memory mapping is not to replace what’s already diminished, but instead to nourish and preserve people’s memories when they are in the early stages of dementia.
Automated Home Activity Cameras
Computerized systems video dementia patients’ daily activities, such as eating, cooking, and going out, and send out alerts to caregivers if any out-of-the-ordinary activities should occur. 24-hour monitoring could help detect abnormal activities before any harm was done.
Gaming Activity for Learning How to Use Technology
Since many elderly people are not familiar with smartphones, text messaging, and computers, it can be difficult to communicate with them. A student developed a game that would teach older dementia sufferers how to communicate via today’s touchscreen technology. Of course there are also senior-friendly tablets designed to help improve senior communication with their loved ones.
Kitchen Fire Preventer
Another invention designed to help dementia patients is a plastic ring to place on stovetops in order to prevent kitchen fires. The plastic ring is positioned around a burner, and turns red when it’s hot and black when it’s cool. Cooking fires and burn accidents are big safety concerns for dementia patients, so this prevention technique could lessen dangers.
Each of these products has the potential to improve the quality of life for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. They were created to ease motor, cognitive, and physical limitations, and so improve quality of life.