A product and service design - 2020 Industrial Design thesis
Memo is a conversation card game design for promote people with moderate dementia and their families having meaningful communication, and reestablish the emotional bond between each others.
Sept 2019 to March 2020
People with moderate dementia and their family members.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Isolation, loneliness and depression are not only belong to people with dementia, but also exist in their families.
Dementia = de (apart, away) + mens (mind)
One of the consequences of an ageing society is the largely increasing numbers of people who diagnose with dementia. There are many types of dementia, some are very rare, and no two people experience dementia in the same way.
Older people with dementia and their family members always experiences isolated, lonely, bored and depressed. Since people with dementia’s recognization and communication ability are declining. Their families frequently have feelings of personal loss; when the interaction with their loved one are gradually becomes limited.
I had contact with two families in China who are taking care of their loved one with the early and middle stages of dementia at home to learn their difficulties. By interviewing two families, I had gain a better understanding of the cause of their emotional barriers.
Social isolation and depression
For senior with dementia and their caregivers, their daily lifestyle and routine are highly restricted by the deterioration of physical, cognitive and communication capacity.
Hard to communicate
Although seniors would wants to talk with old friends or their grandchildren, it is troublesome for both sides to understand what they are talking. Families are struggle to find a way to connect.
Lack of reaction within activities
People with dementia may have minor reaction with the activities that are prepared for them, because sometime them cannot understand the instruction only by voice or they just are not interests.
"How might meaningful activities reconnect people diagnosed with dementia with their loved ones?"
This project aims to encourage people with dementia to interact with their family members to reduce the anxiety and depression in both parties. So whether they live together or live in long-term care facilities, when the family comes to visit and stay in the same room, they can feel pleasure and enjoy every minute.
An activity is considered meaningful when it enables a person to remain involved in everyday activities and personal relationships.
Useful and meaningful communication has been found to create a sense of connectedness with others and may strengthen social relationships beyond the content of the communication.
By reading through Thomas Kitwood's Person-Centered Care for Dementia, I located "play", "facilitation", and "collaboration" from the ten types of interactions from the good dementia care to develop the design concept. I selected "play" as the primary interaction to foster remaining psychological and physical abilities such as recognition and stimulation.
First - Round Prototype Testing
Art, music and doll therapies have all been recognized and widely applied in dementia care. I created three prototypes for each type of therapy treatment and collected feedback from therapists and workers from care facilities. However, after evaluating the concepts with therapists and workers from long-term care facilities, I found out all three ideas are only aimed at particular demographic or user groups, which do not cover enough user range.
CONTINUE CONCEPT DEVELOPING
After continue overlooking the product on market, I found many products in dementia market are all can be categorized as sensory products. So I began my research on multi-sensory therapy.
The multi-sensory therapy was first developed in the Netherlands in the 1970s, firstly introduced to people with learning difficulties and then expanded to people with autism, dementia, brain injury, or other developmental disabilities.
In the market, commercial sensory products are the most popular product that dementia families would have the chance to approach.
Multi-sensory products create positive interaction that could counteract dementia symptoms by enhancing personhood in diverse sides such as feelings and fostering remaining abilities.
With the observation of the dementia sensory products in the market, I discovered most products are only focusing on a single sense.
The photo album is a popular reminiscence activities product. It aims to recall the memories from the past and help users tell the story from the past. The photos inside the album are usually decided by the manufacturers and depend on the local general culture. Therefore, not every user would resonate with their own experience with the products.
At the same time, most products in the dementia market primarily aim at seniors, which separates the younger generation. In comparison, the younger generation is an important part of the family, who provide mental support for people with dementia.
To further my concept, I created three types of prototype cards for user testing: sound, photo, and tactile.
With the content on each card, they can open conversation for family, and the cards would help people with dementia recall their memories to participate in the conversation.
My classmates and therapists were joining in the user testing. We used Role-playing method to test the product and gain feedback. We use three different ways to play the cards, for exploring the best game rules to apply for people with dementia.
The feedback of game rules and materials was provide from the test.
Ruler 1 Limitation:
How could every user feel relative to every content in the card? The cards for old and young players will mix together. If the seniors get the card they don't understand, they will not be able to answer the questions.
Ruler 2 Limitation:
This iteration only presents a limited number of questions in the kit set, and this game rule is not playful. The question would often repeat itself during the game.
Ruler 3 Limitation:
Since the route on the board is a loop, players may not know the start point and how long the game will be last. This iteration requires all the participants to sit down together and feel to have more than two players to start the game.
MEMO can be customized by each family through the website then shipped to customers' home.
Three types of sensory cards are in the kit: image cards, sound cards, and tactile cards. Players would randomly pick a card to answer the question on the cards. If the user cannot answer the card's questions, they would change to a different card.
Families would purchase the card kit through its online store, allowing them to customize it based on their culture and personal history. The product can be suited for different family conditions.
People with dementia or seniors tend to repeat the same story over time. Memo allows families to explore the memories hidden under their minds. Using the card to dig more in-depth into the old story would have a chance to discover a new story, which may pass to others.
Enter into website and starting process
Setting up account
Selecting the countries and cities all the possible participants had stay, and it allows the system to recommend the content from those place.
By collecting every participants’ the birthday, the website can search the appropriate information, such as image, music, item... that match the time that every participant belonged.
Edit card kit and store page
Edit card kit
In the store page, there are more detailed classifications for the user to find the content accurately. After users pick the card to add into their card set, they can manage the card kit on the page.
Create your own card
Make your own card
Users can customize their image card and sound card by uploading images and sound to the website and editing questions on the cards.
Finally, Memo will send the game set to your home. Players could constantly add new cards to the kit. It would become a bond between family members.
Includes everyone in family
Every member of the family can join the game. The younger generation would have the opportunity to learn their family stories. It provokes a positive relationship and atmosphere in the family. Likewise, care facilities workers can also use Memo to get knowing seniors. All the content in the game empowers the caregivers to make a difference between their loved ones. In this way, communication alleviates the problem of anguish and frustration.
The project was originally planned with the psychical prototype, but under the influence of pandemic, prototyping of psychical cards was accidental stop. I made all the card models on Rhino. However, it is not the most ideal way to present the final product.
Details Planning on User Interview
During the user interview, I should narrow down the question arrange to a more specific aspect. I was also trying to improve my interview skills to open potential solutions.
Analysis More on Web Service
At this stage, the website's design is fundamental and primary and did not have more consideration of usability as it is only considered a solution for incorporating more demographics.