Alice Fisher Una

  • Tauira / Student
    Alice Fisher
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Stephen Reay, Kate Weatherly, Anke Nienhuis

Imagine forgetting to perform an everyday task such as brushing your teeth.

The inability to sequence, plan and organise multi-step activities is a challenge for those living with dementia. The bathroom can be a frightening and confusing area due to the vast amount of step by step tasks. This results in a loss of independence which can create resentment to routines as dependency grows. Although there is no cure or prevention for dementia, the majority spend their journey living independently with support in their own home. Empathetic design can offer the opportunity to plan for the future and improve their quality of life.

Currently, Una has been developed to address the early stages of dementia. Adaptations can be distressing for an individual, introducing them early, gives the person time to familiarise themselves.

Una is a smart mirror and organiser combination that works in sync to take an individual through a specific personal care routine. Una encourages both the immediate carer and individual to feel confident through the transitional journey of dementia. Some people with dementia can sometimes get frightened of their reflection and not recognise themselves. To limit this, the digital screen will act as a mirror for the rest of the household and a full screen for the individual with dementia.

RFID tags will be used to allow the screen to identify what product is being picked up. Pressure sensors will recognise what is being pushed down (pump bottle). Proximity sensors will be used to help identify that someone is standing in front of Una.

Six different tile options offer those with dementia an opportunity to personalise their set up. Dementia isn’t the same for everyone; I wanted this to be reflected in my design. Through a modular solution, people can customise their experience.

The purpose of the shelf is to hide products when not in use to help with sensory overload and then clearly show them when folded out. When folded up, Una reflects the maturity of the individual and isn’t invasive or degrading for the whole household.

Song-task association proposes that memory could be supported by the association to short pieces of music. The individual with dementia will pair a song with a task to set up their future.

I used a high contrast on the app to meet the minimum contrast ratio of 7:1, which is recommended for elderly users. Blue and green colours have restful and calming effects.

I aimed to make the bathroom comfortable again. To enable rather than disable people living with dementia. Una encourages both the immediate carer and individual to feel confident through the transitional journey of dementia. People living with dementia can become so disconnected from this world. Una provides future thinking to reconnect individuals through a system that doesn’t physically highlight their difficulties.