Dementia - Innovative care for persons with dementia
Innovate Dementia is a project to promote innovative care for people living with dementia.
Dementia is a leading psychiatric condition for people over 60. It is a slowly progressing, non curable, condition with approximately 70% having Alzheimer disease. 60% of all care is given by informal (family) carers and most of them are overburdened. Dementia needs higher recognition as cases are expected to double in 2025. Managing this potential threat to North West Europe (NWE) society in a cost-effecient way requires innovative approaches presenting opportunities for new businesses and employment as well as concerted action by business and policy makers at all regional levels.
Innovative and sustainable solutions will be developed and tested in Living Labs and will take account of the socio-economic challenges concerned with ageing and dementia.
The main sustainable effects of Innovate Dementia will include: increased focus on the benefits of innovative dementia care for people living with dementia which includes improved health and well-being and sustainable improvement in support given to carers.
The Innovate Dementia project has been made possible by the INTERREG IVB NWE programme. It started in April 2012 and will end in December 2015. The project has a total budget of € 5.484.256 with 50 % ERDF financing
Innovate Dementia Living Labs
One of the challenges in the near future is a steep increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with dementia. Researchers estimate the population of people diagnosed with dementia will double in the next 25 years. This puts pressure on our society in two ways. Firstly, the care system is not ready for providing this increased need of primary care: invoking a need for this group to stay at home longer. Secondly, our products, systems and services are not adapted enough to cater for this trend, or even the daily life of this vulnerable group. So we are faced with the problem of how to make health care in the future both affordable and accessible for an increasing demanding client. For many health care, business and government organisations and the persons living with dementia, this is where the challenges lie.
This is why 10 European partners are working together to create innovative solutions for dementia care in the Innovate Dementia project where we focus on exploring, developing, testing and evaluating assistive design solutions for people living with dementia and their carers in Living Labs from four different perspectives: intelligent lighting systems, nutrition and exercise, living environment and models of assistance. By doing this, we develop an understanding of how to design for and with people living with dementia, so that they become ready to accept innovative solutions and will be able to use them in their daily life.
Definition of a Living Lab
The project partners of the Innovate Dementia project agreed to use the following user-friendly definition of a Living Lab “a Living Lab is a pragmatic research environment which openly engages all relevant partners with an emphasis on improving the real-life care of people living with dementia through the use of economically viable and sustainable innovation”.
(definition based on the definition of Bergvall-Kåreborn and Ståhlbröst).
Living Labs in the Innovate Dementia project
This definition of an Innovate Dementia Living Lab is underpinned by the following principles:
- Continuity: this needs to be apparent both in terms of product development and in terms of transnational working;
- Openness: partner participation should be inclusive with a focus on user-driven innovation;
- Realism: the innovation process should be shaped by real situation and behaviours such as home environments;
- Empowerment of users: there should be a focus on empowering users to actively participate and shape the innovation process.
- Spontaneity: users spontaneous ideas and views should be actively encouraged and explored.
Further to these principles, the Innovate Dementia partnership want to stress the ‘user-friendliness’ of this approach. If innovative solutions really are to be accepted and implemented, they need to follow the needs and preferences of people living with dementia.
It is important to recognise that within the Innovate Dementia project a Living Lab is a dynamic structure that will be utilised to explore, evaluate and validate potential innovations, including intelligent lighting systems, dietary and exercise programmes, living environment and models of assistance for people living with dementia. A Living Lab is no longer a physical space, it has become a structure for collaboration, design and evaluation in which all the stakeholders involved collaborate.
These stakeholders are representatives of the four parties that work together in the Quadruple Helix approach that consists of the collaboration of the government/public sector, knowledge institutes and business/private sector in which the citizen/general public has a central and equal position.
Goals of the Innovate Dementia Living Labs
The main goals of the Innovate Dementia Living Lab approach are:
- Create innovations for people living with dementia by developing concepts that will support them to live longer in their own homes. Concepts are based and further developed through a user-led needs assessment process.
- Create a sustainable Living Lab architecture for exploration, designing, evaluation and validation of new innovative concepts.
- Generate economic activity through strong collaboration between stakeholders (quadruple helix) and develop innovative insights which have the potential to optimise dementia health care.
In the Innovate Dementia Living Labs end users (persons living with dementia and their family carers) have a central position. Products are developed and tested in real life, in the homes of people living with dementia. These persons are supported in using these products by care professionals and by students. The Living Lab approach also uses other forms to develop innovative solutions for persons living with dementia such as Regional Stakeholder Platforms, focus groups and test panels. The Regional Stakeholder Platforms (that consist of all relevant stakeholders: service users and their family carers, care professionals, business parties, knowledge institutes, local government. [ foto RSP in Everton stadion]
Transnational sharing of experiences
Living Labs are organised around the four Innovate Dementia themes:
- Intelligent lighting
- Nutrition and exercise
- Living environment with social and aesthetic conditions
- Models of assistance for persons with dementia and their carers
In the separate leaflets you can find below we describe the activities of the Living Labs, as they are carried out in the Innovate Dementia project regions by the Project Partners. Transnational sharing of results will ensure that each partner’s regional Living Lab will benefit from the experiences gained in the other Labs. Sharing will happen through benchmark visits, staff exchange, trainings, joint working, etc. bringing together all relevant stakeholders form the public, medical and business sector.
Facts and figures
The Innovate Dementia project includes more than 25 Living Labs in the four participating project regions. There are more than 500 end-users (persons living with dementia and their family carers) and more than 200 professional carers involved. More than 25 business parties are involved in these Living Labs. And all these actions have resulted in more than 15 innovative solutions that can be brought to the market.