Colloquium announcement

Faculty of Engineering Technology

Department Design, Production and Management
Master programme Industrial Design Engineering

As part of his / her masterassignment

Cyriel Dreissen

will hold a speech entitled:

Improving quality of life of people with dementia by providing a nocturnal interactive product experience



In our ageing society, the number of people suffering from dementia is growing. In recent years a development took place in psychogeriatric care towards what is called emotion-oriented care, in which the client plays a central role. The goal of this approach is to maintain the quality of life by leveraging the client’s potential, instead of focusing on his limitations. Quality of life typically decreases considerably as with progression of the disease (especially when the person is required to move to a long-term care facility), but can potentially be improved by providing satisfactory, multi-sensory experiences. This leads to the following central question: How can an interactive product or system provide multi-sensory experiences that improve quality of life of elderly people with dementia who live in long-term care facilities? As part of a commercial company’s innovation project, an iterative design research project is conducted to provide an answer to the central question. Field research was conducted to define problems and opportunities in the context-of-use. Ideas were generated through creative sessions and concepts were evaluated by a creative qualitative research method. The solution found for improving overall wellbeing is to improve on the circadian rhythm by providing a multi-sensory, nocturnal experience. The concept was realised by means of a working interactive prototype, which was tested with four different clients in a long-term care facility, over the course of three nights per client. The results of the user tests are promising and imply a positive effect on the wellbeing of the client when going to bed, throughout the night and in the morning. On the basis of the evaluations a final design is presented. Reflecting on the design case and the test results, the following recommendations can be made: whereas the prototype implies to have a positive effect on the wellbeing of the client, a long-term effect study is needed, including observing more clients using the prototype for a longer period of time. To this end it is recommended to develop a prototype which gathers data without the need of someone physically being at the care facility. Finally, a future vision is presented on how the product could be developed: an intelligent, self-learning device capable of providing an experience perfectly tailored to the client’s need.