Hello everyone,

Welcome to our blog.

My name’s Jess and I work as a product designer for Designability, a charity based in Bath that researches and designs products for people with long-term health conditions. My passions in life are people and design and I’m excited to hear and learn from people’s experiences of living with challenging health conditions. I will be one of the facilitators of the workshops and will be supporting discussion and visualising ideas.

Since joining Designability last September, the main focus of my work has been in researching and designing products that support people living with dementia to carry out tasks that maximise their independence. In this time, I have learned so much, I have worked directly with people living with dementia and their carers to scope and understand the challenges of living with dementia. According to the NHS 800,000 people are living with dementia in the UK, this is such a huge statistic and I’ve found that many people I’ve spoken to about dementia have someone in their lives who is affected by the condition. I would like to see more products that support people with dementia to carry out meaningful tasks independently.

I thought it would be worth sharing some inspiration and my aspirations for what I believe good care and product support may look like. Living Well with Dementia was a design challenge, launched in 2011 by the Design Council to improve the lives of people living with dementia. From this challenge, various design consultancies responded and five products and services were developed and launched to support users living with dementia.

One of these examples is the Buddi personal alarm system. Buddi is a wearable, wrist alarm; the user can press a button if they are lost or have a fall and this then alerts a carer who can respond and locate the user through GPS. www.buddi.co.uk The design could potentially reach out to other user groups, encourages user independence and can provide the carer with ease of mind.

Channel 4 recently launched Dementiaville, a series of television programmes that raise awareness of dementia and explore what life is like living with and caring for people with dementia. Some really lovely and emotional insights. www.channel4.com/programmes/dementiaville

It’s a pleasure to be part of this collaborative process and I look forward to meeting some of you at our workshops but if you have any thoughts on anything raised in this post, ideas or stories to share please write a comment below.