Sensor e-Textiles: designing for persons with late stage dementia
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This paper describes an on-going inclusive, participatory design research project investigating ways of supporting the subjective wellbeing (SWB) of people with late stage dementia through the development of sensory e-textiles. This research addresses the World Health Organisation and G8 call for an international response to the global challenge of the ageing population and, in particular, research into care of people with dementia (WHO, 2012). It presents an international collaboration between researchers at the Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts and Design (CARIAD) Cardiff Metropolitan University and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at University of Technology Sydney. The project is partnered by Gwalia Cyf, one of the leading providers of residential social care for the elderly in Wales, providing access to staff expertise (occupational therapists, home managers and carers) and facilitating the involvement of residents and their families in the research. The research team includes textile designers, computer and materials scientists, software and electrical engineers who have brought their multidisciplinary expertise to the co-design process. The authors’ previous research (Treadaway et al., 2014) has identified the current lack of well-designed products for persons with dementia to enhance subjective wellbeing. In late stage dementia people lose the facility to relate to the external world beyond the body and so garments can be used as an important vehicle to stimulate, distract and soothe individuals (Twigg, 2010; Kontos and Martin, 2013). This paper describes the development of new types of personalised textiles that provide sensory stimulation and encourage ‘living in the moment’ through the integration of embedded electronics and smart materials. It reports on the design research process, including case study interviews with family members and care professionals, co-design participatory events and evaluation studies. Early findings from the research indicate that textiles that have been developed to date are having a positive effect on the SWB of persons with dementia and assist with their care.
Design4Health International Conference;
Treadaway, C., Kenning, G., Coleman, S. (2015); Design4Health International Conference, Sheffield July 2015
Thanks to Gwalia Cyf, Cardiff Metropolitan University REIF and OPAN for supporting this research.
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