How can we enrich the quality of everyday life for people with dementia through sensory experience?

On our last day of in-person classes, I showed the final station to John and my working pod. They really enjoyed the thermochromic surfaces and we spent some time trying their usability and different uses with the help of various heating tools, including a hairdryer. John thought that the station has quite some potential, but stated the fact that this was a prototype and in order for it to be a final product, the materials would need to be better, the drawers should open more easily, etc. As I had not really thought about it as a commercial product before, I contacted the CEO of the DEOS company and presented the idea of testing this prototype around different homes and improving it further to a point where it can be introduced into different dementia care homes around the world, and she loved it.

Final art station prototype.

The plan for this art station is now to be shipped to Slovenia, where it will be further tested and developed, along with different heating tools and the station-specific holistic art therapy. It is my hope that with the collaboration of professional therapists and care workers, this station can become a tool that would successfully combine art, sensory and cognitive therapies, that would be used in many care homes, also because it does not require any special prior knowledge about therapy, and that it would make the world of those suffering from dementia a little brighter. 

Usage of the art station.

Despite the pandemic, this project could be called smooth sailing, which made me think that Pauline Kael was onto something when she said, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’. Throughout this Final Major Project, I have gained and learned so much, not to mention the opportunity to get to know and work with some amazing people. The sensory room and the gardens will be built by the end of the summer 2021. In the meantime, I am also working on private rooms, living areas and other parts of this new care home, so for me this story does not end with the Final Major Project. The wondrous MA:UX journey, on the other hand, does, and saying goodbye will indeed be bittersweet. This course has given me so much; it broadened my perspectives on so many things, challenged my relationship with post-its, encouraged my creativity and most importantly, helped me discover something that I really love to do.

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