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Communication design to help with Alzheimer’s

Shared by Ana Duarte on 2016-06-09 18:07

About the solution

In 2010, when she was looking for a topic to study in her thesis, the designer choose to study how communication design can help patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

“My grandmother has great difficulty identifying people from the close family. She knows the names are important and recognizes the faces, but she cannot put the two together and does not know how we are related. To address this issue, I explored the possibility of using a family tree in a playful way, in which she could see pictures and read the corresponding names”, Rita explained.

She created different pieces according to the user’s needs (two for her grandmother, and one for the grandfather). For her grandmother, she invented a playing card game. On the front, it has the photo of a family member; On the back, it has a text (the name, a basic description of the person, some important detail that matters to the grandmother, a question that gets her to another card, so to make a game out of this).
She also designed a tablemat with drawings of kitchenware, so that she can know where she should put things on the table.
For her grandfather, Rita created a family book: “I asked each family member to write a letter. By doing that, it can help remember”, the invented observed.

According to the designer, the results are encouraging. “My grandmother engaged with the game, being able to recognize the people in the cards more easily, although not always. She was interested in reading the small sentences about the people in the cards. However, without help she would sometimes get lost with the questions.
It revealed to be helpful for my family to enhance conversation with my grandmother, but also something that she could look at and maintain interest for some time on her own. The card game works as a set of visual and written cues to trigger memories in someone with Alzheimer’s disease in a playful way, allowing different ways and levels of interaction”.

More info: http://cargocollective.com/ritamaldonadobranco/about

Adapted from: http://p3.publico.pt/cultura/design/11807/rita-pos-o-design-ao-servico-d...

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This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Rita Maldonado Branco, born in Portugal, in 1987, is a designer who created several solutions to help her grandparents, who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, to cope with the condition.

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