A design student from Nottingham Trent University has created an app to assist those living with dementia in everyday tasks.
ORIA, the Home Care Companion, was developed by 21-year-old Sarah Lodge, originally from Northampton. The app displays medication and appointment reminders on a customised tablet installed in the user’s home, as well as daily tasks, pictures and messages. Sarah was prompted to build the app by the deteriorating health of her late grandmother Theresa, who had Parkinson’s disease before being diagnosed with dementia. Sadly, Theresa died earlier this year whilst Sarah was still developing the technology.
“Family was always important to my grandmother and she thoroughly enjoyed receiving updates of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” said Sarah.
“She proudly displayed several photo frames of her memories with her family. This always brought a smile to her face. However, as I was living a long distance away, it was difficult to maintain contact which would evoke the same emotive response from her. This app is designed to help solve this as well as providing simple everyday support which will help people with dementia maintain their independence.”
The tablet is linked to the phone of a carer or relative who can choose what is displayed. The app also provides advice and resources for carers, including access to ‘blogORIA’, a platform for people to share their stories of caregiving. Interaction levels are recorded and the data is used to send alerts to the carer if there is a drop in contact for an extended period of time. Sarah’s design is set to go on public display at Nottingham Trent University’s Art and Design Summer Show 2018.
“This is a brilliant example of a product that has been designed in a thorough and thoughtful way in order to support people living with dementia,” said James Dale, head of Product Design at Nottingham Trent. “ORIA has the potential to have a really positive impact on their lives and those who support them.”