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August 2018

A Powerful Collaboration between Rush, Design for America and Panorama Innovation to Create a More Dementia Friendly America

A Powerful Collaboration between Rush, Design for America and Panorama Innovation to Create a More Dementia Friendly America 4032 3024 proplight

The DFA Summer Studio 2017 team with their dementia empathy kits and co-coaches Kelly Costello and Nick Paredes

Design for America students spent the summer working on solving the challenge of how to make communities more friendly for dementia sufferers. The challenge arose from a collaboration between Chicago healthcare professionals from Rush Medical Center, the Design for America program at Northwestern University, and Dementia Friendly America, the sponsoring organization that seeks to foster greater dementia friendliness across the US. To help them identify, understand and solve for the needs of people throughout the dementia ecosystem, the students were coached in design thinking methods by two professional mentors.

Design for America students solve for a more Dementia Friendly America

This summer, four students at Design for America’s Summer Studio at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) sought ways to make the community more dementia-friendly. Coached by Panorama partner Kelly Costello and Nick Paredes, they spent six weeks looking in greater detail at the challenges of living with dementia. After conducting interviews with people suffering from dementia and their families, as well as learning from professionals in the field, the students landed on a solution: an empathy kit, designed to help those unaffected understand what it is like to live with dementia.

The empathy kit helps people walk in dementia sufferers’ shoes

The dementia empathy kit consists of dark glasses to simulate a dementia sufferer’s reduced vision, thick gloves that approximate their difficulties with manual dexterity, a jigsaw puzzle that doesn’t fit together properly, and a calendaring exercise to show how, once people lose certain social skills, they are at greater risk of social isolation.

Let us know if you would like to join forces!

At Panorama Innovation, we’re proud to have partnered with Dementia Friendly America to work toward creating friendly communities for people living with dementia. We believe that together, we can make a positive impact on dementia sufferers in our communities and around the nation so that those living with dementia are able to have safe and enjoyable lives in their current communities.

Are you interested in finding out how you can help create dementia friendly environments in your community? Please leave a comment below and someone from Panorama will be happy to get in touch with you.