Designing with people with dementia

How can we co-design products with people with dementia?


Wellbeing products for people with dementia
Product Design, Design Research, Prototyping, Testing, Implementation, Redesign
2016 - 2021 Full time designer


During my employment at Relish (aka Active Minds) – a company designing products for people affected by dementia -- where I later led the product design team. My role required me to lead the various aspects of projects where I was responsible for the research, development, design, testing and delivery of products and services in the defined budgets and timelines, as well as building and maintaining relationships with our network of family carers and care home professionals. On this journey, I had the pleasure to work with many brilliant people, and collaborate with leading organisations (including Alzheimer’s Society on Fidget Widget Tool Kit) and universities, but the most fulfilling moments were the times I co-designed products with people affected by dementia —  the times when I see their reaction. This could be the joy in their faces or a comment they make, or in some cases,  just a tiny movement in their fingers.


For deciding what kind of products we need to deliver in a financial year, I was closely working with Operations, Sales, Marketing and Business Development teams to identify gaps in our offer. Also, I was doing secondary research, reading academic articles and following closely the sectors leading organisations to identify the right research questions to ask. But, the main part of the research was the one with real people. I was visiting care homes, talking to care staff and activity coordinators and family carers to make sure people affected by dementia are included in every stage of the design process. I was gathering the data from sales figures, customer insights, product reviews, competitor analysis, market research, interviews and surveys. After considering the company’s business strategy and analysing the data carefully, I was identifying themes, sort and condense them, define insights and frame opportunities. Then, these findings and opportunities were presented to the wider team to discuss and give the product plan a final shape. Then, I was detailing the budgeting and timelines for each opportunities.


During my 4.5 years of employment at Relish, I developed and delivered more than 40 products from relatively simple ones like variations of puzzles to the more complex projects like a digital service for care staff all tested and developed with people affected by dementia.

“Love these items. My mom can't do too much on her own but these certainly help put some wonderful variety in her life and break up the boredom she must certainly be experiencing. These are fantastic one on one projects that help make my mom feel better about herself.”, from a customer review

from Relish