Designing playful objects to support subjective wellbeing for people living with dementia
University of South Wales
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This poster presents research that is investigating the development of playful objects for people living with advanced dementia. The Ludic Artifacts Using Gesture and Haptics (LAUGH) research is a three-year international interdisciplinary project, based at CARIAD, Cardiff Metropolitan University and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project proposes an investigation into handcraft and playfulness in order to inform the development of ludic artefacts to support the wellbeing of people with dementia. The project is partnered with Gwalia Cyf and supported by Alzheimer’s Society, Age Cymru and Dementia Positive. The aim is to design new playful devices to amuse and stimulate people with advanced dementia and bring them joy, fun and laughter. The research is examining ways in which haptics, gesture and sensory stimulation contribute to subjective wellbeing in later life. It is informed by qualitative research methods including case study interviews and participatory design workshops with experts, including people living with dementia, health and care professionals, technologists, designers and academics. Findings from the first year of the study have identified the importance of designing to: stimulate the senses, use implicit memory (procedural and emotional) and encourage haptic and tactile activity that is ‘in the moment’ and with low cognitive demand. The current design development phase of the research focuses on exploring how new materials and technologies can extend the sensory properties of the design concepts and enable them to be highly personalised. The final phase of the project will focus on an iterative design cycle, to refine concepts through a series of ‘live labs’ with people living with advanced dementia and their carers, and qualitative evaluation of their use. Findings from the research as a whole will inform the development of a toolkit for designing for advanced dementia as well as a range of design prototypes for playful objects.
Understanding Dementia (USWDEM);
Treadaway, C. and Fennell, J. (2016). ‘Designing playful objects to support subjective wellbeing for people living with dementia’ [Poster]. Exhibited at USWDEM (University of South Wales, Understanding Dementia Conference), Treforest, Pontypridd. September 14.
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