Positive Design for Dementia – An update from Active Minds

Written by Active Minds on Wednesday the 15th of October 2014.


Positive Design for Dementia

In July 2014, Active Minds welcomed designer Alice Osborne to the team. Alice’s human-centered and collaborative design approach, her diverse range of experience in the areas of health and social care (working closely with people with dementia and those caring for them), aging and end of life have been invaluable to the design team in helping create and deliver a refreshed range of Active Minds’ core activity products.

When Active Minds started in 2010, Founder Ben Atkinson-Willes, with the help of Kingston University, St. Thomas’ Hospital and Barchester Healthcare researched and developed a range of activity products for people with dementia. Those products have since been sold to the NHS, a large number of care homes and care home groups as well as a countless number of families in the UK. Active Minds now also sells activity products to distributors in Poland, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, North America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2013 the company secured investment from UnLtd and Albion Care Alliance CIC and six months later a new product development project was put in motion. With over four years experience working with family carers and care professionals, it was felt that Active Minds’ core product ranges could be improved upon and refreshed.

The redevelopment and refresh of Active Minds’ two best-selling product ranges has now come to an end and new and improved designs have been sent for manufacture. Meanwhile, the company is turning its attention to a brand new series of product developments for 2015.

A few words from Alice…

Our commitment to share

Active Minds is a Social Business and we are committed to sharing the learnings, insights and conclusions reached by our various research and development projects.

Over the coming months we will publish a series of blogs which will document our design journeys; highlighting some of the challenges and milestones of our product development processes and demonstrating how our observations and learnings have impacted the changes and alterations we have made to the new designs.

Thanks to…

A huge thank you to Communication Designer, Alice Moloney, for her irreplaceable contribution to the product refresh.

We also wish to thank all of those involved in our feedback, prototyping and testing phases, with special thanks to Wendy (Activities Manager) at Ashford House Care Centre (Barchester Healthcare), Mandy (Activities Co-ordinator), Silby and Coral at Darland Nursing Home, the Dementia Support Teams at Medway Community Healthcare and all of the families who allowed us into their homes and lives, including Phyl and Jack, and Loretta and her family.

Positive Design for Dementia - a colage of Active Minds testing photos and design notes