Designing for dementia: Iterative grief and transitional objects

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Design Issues, 2018, 34 (1), pp. 42 - 53
Issue Date:
2018-01-01
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© 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Designers increasingly are exploring how to support individuals transitioning through loss and grief and coming to terms with a loved one’s death. For people living with dementia and their families, the loss and grief they experience is iterative and ongoing. This paper discusses design research to make sensory textile objects for people with advanced dementia, intended to support positive well-being, shared experiences, and “in the moment” pleasure. It draws on theories relating to transitional and transformational objects to show how these textiles support those living with dementia as they transition into greater dependency and move toward the end of life. It shows how, after their death, the objects become memorials and symbolic representations, further supporting family members through their experience of loss.
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