Here’s the three final ideas from the first Design Together, Live Better design challenge. These are being developed into prototype products, potentially to help maximise independence for people living with challenging health conditions.
Keeping Busy – routine and schedule
Insight: The walker trolley is widely used by elderly people in the home. They provide mobility support and are also convenient for transporting personal belongings. Many designs are purely functional, unattractive and do not fit into the modern home. For people with memory problems keeping a trolley close by with personal items on can be comforting and help to stimulate conversation with others.
Idea: The ‘Companion’ trolley offers a personalised approach to existing walker trolleys in the home. People can fill the trolley with meaningful possessions and transport these around their living environment whether that be in their own home or in a care setting. The trolley will be designed to be a desirable piece of furniture that also supports mobility and promotes independence.
Impact: The walker is a widely used product for elderly people and it can become part of their identity. This idea will continue to provide mobility support but has the potential to improve social interaction, support dignity and independence. It also has main stream appeal as an item of furniture with added functionality.
Insight: Fastening a child seat harness is a tricky task, often requiring both hands. If you have reduced dexterity in one or both hands it becomes almost impossible without help.
This problem was identified by a workshop participant who had had a stroke and as a result now has reduced mobility on one side of their body and is not able to fasten her children into their car seat without the support of a relative.
Idea: A seatbelt buckle and harness design that can be easily fastened with one hand.
Impact: This idea has the potential to support many people with dexterity and mobility problems and would also make the task of fastening harnesses and buckles easier for all. It could be used on pushchairs, car seats and other child restraints.
Living Well – personal hygiene
Insight: Requiring the support of a friend or carer to clean you after toileting can be uncomfortable and undignified for both parties.
This insight was shared with us by a workshop participant who supports their friend to clean after toileting when they are out and about at football games or doing other social activities together. His friend has cerebral palsy and this means he cannot wipe his bottom and needs help getting onto the toilet.
Idea: A portable bidet that can be used in public toilets. You can take it wherever you go, it will be quick and easy to use on any toilet and easy to operate independently of carer assistance.
Impact: There is a market for handheld portable bidets and retro-fit solutions that can be attached to most toilets, but these require acute dexterity and can take time to set up.
This idea has the potential to impact many people living with mobility problems and limited dexterity. It will allow people to maintain dignity and independence and they can go out without fear of using a public toilet.