University student creates daily living aid to help dementia patients be more independent
A student from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has designed a helpful daily living aid to support people with early to mid-stages of dementia so they can become more self-sufficient.
Activity Aid allows a loved one to record vocal instructions on how to perform various activities and tasks, which enables people with dementia to follow the instructions step by step and be more independent.
Elliot Heffernan, 22, created the product to support people like his grandmother who have dementia and experience difficulties in remembering the order in which to carry out everyday tasks.
He built the product after interviewing carers and a professional who is researching dementia.
“An issue that people in the early to mid-stages of dementia encounter is they struggle to remember the sequential order of even simple tasks, such as making a cup of tea,” Elliot commented.
“This is an issue that I have seen personally with a family member so had a good idea of the struggles that people with dementia go through. Dementia can completely change people’s lives and leave them feeling very frustrated, so I wanted to do something which would help others in a similar situation.”
People with dementia can simply press the button of the task they need assistance with on the Activity Aid, before a voice guides them through the activity step by step. As the voice can be recorded by a family member or carer, the aid is more personal and reassuring for the individual with dementia.
An LED lights up in front of the task button to remind the user which one they are performing.
“I’ve shown my prototype to my grandad and he said that it would have been useful when my grandma was in the early stages of dementia, as she was still trying to complete tasks but couldn’t quite remember how to do them,” Elliot continued.
“It would have helped her maintain a better degree of independence, something which is really important to all of us.”
The device is also situational and more than one can be used in different rooms of the house, depending on the tasks needed to be carried out in any given room.