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Launched in 2011, Living Well with Dementia was a Design Challenge run in partnership with the Department of Health, to improve the lives of those affected by dementia.

The problem

More than 800,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, with numbers expected to rise to 1.7 million by 2051. Dementia is a huge issue for the UK and the world. The cost to the UK is already around £23 billion per year, and is set to rise to £27 billion by 2018. Globally the estimated costs are $604 billion – 1% of global GDP.

The insight

We felt we could use the Design Challenge process to turn the rising costs associated with dementia in an ageing population into an opportunity for positive change and innovation. We wanted to find better ways for those affected by dementia to live well in their homes, and alleviate the feelings of isolation and fear that often accompany the diagnosis. We felt there was an opportunity to improve the overall quality of life for people with dementia and to reduce the need for expensive hospital care.

Our response

We launched a 12 month Design Challenge in partnership with Department of Health, the aim: to design and develop products and services that rethink living with dementia, and launch them as real initiatives. Five innovative solutions were developed, the final teams included designers, entrepreneurs and service providers, as well as experts in nutrition, dog training and olfaction.

The concepts are focused on and around the point of diagnosis, aiming to be preventative measures that improve quality of life in the early stages of dementia for the increasing numbers of people diagnosed. The five solutions demonstrate the vast potential of innovative ideas in an under-served market, and show how design can play a key role in confronting a major social challenge.

The results

buddi – an attractive wristband personal alarm, which can send alerts from anywhere to buddi’s support services.

Dementia Dog – assistance dogs that help people with dementia lead more fulfilled, independent and stress-free lives.

ode – a fragrance-release system designed to stimulate appetite among people with dementia.

Grouple – a secure, private online social hub helping people share the responsibilities of caring for a loved one.

Trading Times – an online service that matches carers with local businesses for flexible paid work.

Knowledge & resources