Dementia Experience

Empathic design as tool for awareness raising about and behavioural change towards dementia

The Dementia Experience (DE) was developed in order to gain a better understanding of what goes on inside the heads and hearts of persons suffering from dementia.

empathy : act out observation

By going through the Dementia Experience simulator, visitors experience first-hand what it means to suffer from dementia. This understanding leads to empathy and will result in more adequate care for the dementia patient.

The Dementia Experience distinguishes itself from more traditional methods by explicitly focusing on the ways in which patients and their caretakers (family members and professionals) experience their emotional and physical wellbeing.

Why is this a good example of sustainist design?
The Dementia Experience uses empathic design techniques to harvest real stories from all people involved. These are translated into experiences that visitors will undergo in the DE simulator. Specific empathic design techniques that were used are about sharing experiences and stories of the people involved, connecting to these stories as designers by relating them to our own lives, and ultimately translating all of the insights that are generated into an experience that really makes us (re)think situations and actions—all of this by way of co-creation, using more visuals and less language.

The Dementia Experience represents an approach to design training tools more adequately, so that empathy results naturally. This approach generates important insights into the ways in which wellbeing is being perceived by all the different persons involved, and how these may be catered to more adequately. The Dementia Experience will go live in September 2012 and we look forward to share our results with you.

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