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, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 249–259 | Cite as

Designing technology to improve quality of life for people with dementia: user-led approaches

  • R. Orpwood
  • J. Chadd
  • D. Howcroft
  • A. Sixsmith
  • J. Torrington
  • G. Gibson
  • G. Chalfont
Long Paper


This paper addresses the design of assistive technology that specifically aims to support an improvement in the quality of life of people with dementia. Starting from interviews with users, a grounded theory approach was used to compile a wish list of issues important for maintaining quality of life. A large list of potential technologies that could address these issues was generated, and four were selected for initial development: a music player, a device to reduce social isolation, a conversation prompter, and a device to support sequences of tasks. The music player and social isolation device are described in this paper in detail. A user-led approach to their design was followed, including approaches to finding control interfaces that were intuitive for people with dementia. The paper concludes with a list of recommendations for designers looking to develop equipment of this kind.


Dementia Quality of life User-led design Intuitive control interfaces Music playing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Orpwood
    • 1
  • J. Chadd
    • 1
  • D. Howcroft
    • 2
  • A. Sixsmith
    • 3
  • J. Torrington
    • 4
  • G. Gibson
    • 5
  • G. Chalfont
    • 4
  1. 1.Bath Institute of Medical EngineeringBath UniversityBathUK
  2. 2.Research Institute for the Care of Older PeopleBathUK
  3. 3.Gerontology Research CentreSimon Fraser UniversityVancouverCanada
  4. 4.Department of ArchitectureSheffield UniversitySheffieldUK
  5. 5.Department of Primary CareLiverpool UniversityLiverpoolUK

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