After my Mom was diagnosed with dementia in 2013, me and my family lived with dementia for five years and I didn’t want the experience and everything I’d learnt to go to waste. So over the last year of my degree, I designed a care tool that aims to retain individuality and personhood for those living with dementia, something that is built upon by the individual themselves throughout their lifetime, before the onset of dementia. It asks participants to consider what ten possessions/aspects of daily life they feel are most important to them, and what they’d want to be retained as part of their routine if they were to receive a diagnosis of dementia tomorrow. These CD collections act as a way to document and communicate these important parts of who we are to our possible future carers.
When communicative skills fail and carers must start making decisions for loved ones, decisions made - although made with good intentions - are ultimately a reflection of their own views and opinions, and so these subtle but important parts of who we are are often what’s lost first. By preparing for dementia from an earlier age, we can ensure our possible future carers can retain our individuality and personality, and in turn provide better care.
Not only is this designed as a realistic care tool, it should be seen as a provocation for change. For people living with an illness that confuses and shifts the way you view yourself and how others view you, it’s of upmost importance that we find ways to recognise and effectuate their sense of self, helping people to consider the emotional as well as the medical support needed in dementia care today. •
Project process blog: https://plus-dementia.tumblr.com