KITE: Keeping in touch every day

Kite

People with dementia commonly experience memory problems. A concern for both them and their carers, therefore, is that they will become lost while out alone. While not unreasonable, this can prevent the maintenance of healthy, useful and enjoyable practices that people with mild to moderate dementia are often otherwise capable of carrying out, such as walking, jogging or driving. The aim of the KITE project was to develop technology that would help alleviate these worries, while enabling people with dementia to maintain their independence and continue to take part in these activities.

We went through a participatory design process with both people with dementia and their carers that had three parts. These were the scoping stage, where we asked our participants about their experiences of “getting out and about, the participatory design workshop stage, where our participants were invited back to help us explore what features they would expect from technology designed to aid them in getting out and about, and the prototype design stage, where we developed prototype devices for two people with dementia. In the participatory design stage, the importance of the device being easily integrated into everyday routines was stressed, as well as being simple to use. We utilised what we had found out in the participatory design stage to tailor each device to its user and the activity during which they would most likely be using it. The devices incorporated GPS functions that enabled them to see their location and to transmit information about their whereabouts to their carer.

See also: KITE

Date: Jul 2007 – Feb 2009

Funding: EPSRC: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, CELS:Centre for Excellence in Life Sciences. £101,100

Researchers: Patrick Olivier (PI). Louise Robinson, and Katie Britain (CIs) – Institute of Health & Society.
Cas Ladha, Dan Jackson, Stephen Lindsay.

Press:

“KITE is helping to raise hopes”, Evening Chronicle, (no online archive)

“Device to improve life for dementia sufferers”, Journal Live, 20 Mar 2008

“Electronic tag hope for Alzheimer’s patients”, The Telegraph, 31 Mar 2008

 

Publications

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