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Dementia Friendly Devices Revealed

April 27, 2012

Scent sprays to trigger appetite and wristband alarms are among key innovative designs which have been unveiled to help people with dementia.

Mains-powered plugs would emit fragrances three times a day to spark hunger while Buddiband bracelets would alert an emergency centre if wearers suffered a fall. Research is also being carried out into the possibility of training “dementia dogs” that could help support people with the illness with medication and hydration by learning their normal behaviour patterns.

New online groups to ease the care burden and help carers find flexible work are also being looked at.

The prototypes, created under a competition staged by the Department of Health and the Design Council, were revealed as the first meeting of the Dementia Friendly Communities Champion Group, which will help pioneer the Government’s plans announced earlier this year to create areas more responsive to the needs of people with the illness, was staged.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow, who unveiled the designs, said: “Fear of dementia can leave people feeling powerless and trapped, leaving them isolated and unsupported. That is why we have worked with the Design Council to drive innovation in dementia care. The five winning ideas have the potential to make a big difference for people with dementia and their families.

“The Design Council work is part of our wider drive to make our country dementia-friendly. Today we go further with our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society to challenge cities, towns and villages up and down the land to lead a revolution in how people think about dementia.

“Working with businesses, councils, the local NHS and community groups, our immediate goal is a network of 20 dementia-friendly cities, towns and villages to lead the way.”

Around 670,000 people in England have dementia and the number of people developing the disease is increasing.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “So many companies signing up to be dementia-friendly shows a real commitment to improving people’s lives. From helping people with their shopping to making it easier to do their banking, these organisations are incredibly well placed to push forward real change.

“We now need to see more organisations getting involved. Together from bus drivers to businesses, we all have a role to play in making communities more dementia-friendly.”

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