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Tried and tested activities and daily living aids

Posted by Tim Shakespeare (Admin) 3 weeks ago Posted in Inspiration

In this blog Jon Wingrave, who manages Alzheimer’s Society’s online shop, explains how they reach out for feedback on their products to help decide which products to sell and guide the advice they offer.

Combating isolation during the coronavirus pandemic

The responses to our Innovation Hub and much of the feedback that Alzheimer’s Society has been getting through our Dementia support line, Talking Point online forum and our new Companion calls have demonstrated that people living with dementia are feeling increasingly isolated and frustrated as a result of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Alzheimer’s Society’s online shop has seen a marked increase in sales of our range of daily living aids that help people with dementia and their carers to be more comfortable in their homes and support independence and safety. These include reminder clocks to keep track of time, easy to use telephones to stay in touch, specially designed crockery to help with eating and drinking and products to help with washing and keeping hydrated.

Not surprisingly it is the products that help to combat isolation that have been the bestsellers such as our range of simple music players and dementia friendly games and activities designed especially for people living with dementia. Particularly popular are aquapaints that allow the user to create colourful images using only water and a brush, colouring books, traditional games such as Snake and Ladders and our fantastic range of jigsaws that also help stimulate memories and conversation.

Stickers available on the online shop to help with navigation.Informed by people with lived experience

We take our products out to Dementia Voice Groups of people living with dementia and their carers to test and evaluate. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to experience the products being used first hand, ask questions and get invaluable feedback on all aspects of the product from packaging and product design to set up, instructions, how it works and crucially whether people think the product is something they would want to buy and if it’s value for money.

The feedback helps us decide which products to stock and helps shape the information, advice and guidance offered to customers through our online shop and Daily living aids catalogue where we often include these reviews alongside pictures of people using the products.

The feedback forms the basis of a regular consumer panel article in Dementia together magazine, which shows readers a range of helpful products and shares the valuable insights of people affected by dementia that might help them decide if a product is suitable for them or their loved ones.

Recently we’ve covered specially designed menswear and popular items designed to help with day-to-day challenges. We also feedback to the product designers, manufacturers and suppliers and many have responded positively by making improvements to the products, instructions and packaging as a result of feedback received.

Increasingly we are encouraging product designers and manufacturers to share their ideas and prototypes so that people living with dementia are able to input into the earlier stages of product development and Alzheimer’s Society has begun to working partnership to improve and develop new products.

The coronavirus has been a challenge to our evaluation process as our review panels were unable to meet up as usual but we have worked with our Dementia Voice team to arrange for products to be delivered and tried out at home and we have our first Zoom panel coming up to discuss a range of games and activities we sent to people to have a go with. The feedback from the home testing and Zoom panel will feature in an article in the next issue of Dementia together magazine.

Share your ideas

We’re always looking at ways to improve our product evaluation process and would like to get more people affected by dementia involved in this process. We’d like to get your thoughts on how we could do this and hear from people who would like to be involved. Please email trading@alzheimers.org.uk.

Importantly, 100% of profits from our shop help support Alzheimer’s Society’s vital work supporting people affected by dementia, so please visit our shop if you’re interested in any of our living aids and activity ideas.

This post was edited on Jun 16, 2020 by Tim Shakespeare

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