This week saw the start of an important phase in the EU project ‘MinD’, which aims to improve the quality of life of people in the early stages of dementia. The University of Twente is one of the project’s international partners. This week, the project group began evaluating the ‘Good Life Kit, one of the two designs the project has delivered so far. UT project leader Dr. Geke Ludden: “We want to support people with dementia by helping them to think about how they can lead a mindful and meaningful life.”
The consortium of international experts has developed two interventions intended to help people in the early stages of dementia to live a mindful life with social engagement. The Good Life Kit is one of these interventions, and this is currently being evaluated in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and the UK. To this end the UT’s DesignLab DreamTeam – Arnav Mundkur and Betina Markova, Master Interaction Technology students and others – created 16 prototypes in four languages. The set invites people with dementia to think in a playful way, together with those closest to them, about what they hold most important in their lives and what the diagnosis of dementia means to them.
As a prototype of the Good Life Kit, a wooden box was designed that contained three compartments in which the three parts of the game could be kept. The Good Life Kit consists of the following three components: This is me, a game that follows a person’s life course and invites them to tell stories about the different periods in their life. Live your life is a personal booklet containing information and mindfulness exercises. You and me helps them to identify the most important people in their lives, and can also help them deal with the effects of dementia. For the graphic design of the different game components, the MinD team worked together with a Dutch partner, design agency Panton.
The MinD (Designing for people with dementia. Mindful self-empowerment and social engagement) project was launched in 2015 by a consortium of experts in the fields of gerontology, mindfulness, dementia and interaction design. At the University of Twente, the Human Centred Design and Interaction Design (ET – DPM) groups are involved. The multidisciplinary team has worked intensively in all phases of this project with people with dementia. People with dementia were involved through the European Working Group of Alzheimer Europe, the Public and Patient Involvement group at the University of Nottingham, and through the MinD care partners: Zorggroep Sint Maarten in the Netherlands, Alexianer Klinik in Germany and Intras in Spain.
The evaluation of the Good Life Kit in the Netherlands began on 24 January, the UT is working together with MinD partner Zorggroep Sint Maarten. Case managers Ilse Dierselhuis and Christel Weusthof: “We are of the opinion that the Good Life Kit can be a useful supplement in the guidance that we, as case managers at Zorggroep Sint Maarten, offer to our clients and to those around them. It is also very much in line with our own vision, ‘Share your life’, and with how we look at and treat our clients.”
For more information on the MinD project, contact Geke Ludden.