Designing Innovative Interventions with People Living with Dementia

Award Number
Award Type
Status / Stage
1 November 2014 -
1 January 2016
Duration (calculated)
01 years 02 months
Funding Amount
Funder/Grant study page
Contracted Centre
Northumbria University
Principal Investigator
Paul Rodgers
PI Contact
WHO Catergories
Methodologies and approaches for risk reduction research
Tools and methodologies for interventions
Disease Type
Dementia (Unspecified)

CPEC Review Info
Reference ID625
ResearcherReside Team


Award NumberAH/M005348/1
Status / StageCompleted
Start Date20141101
End Date20160101
Duration (calculated) 01 years 02 months
Funder/Grant study pageAHRC
Contracted CentreNorthumbria University
Funding Amount£83,366.00


The key aim of this design fellowship is to understand better how design thinking and action can contribute to the development of a range of enhanced products, services, and systems for people living with dementia. These designed interventions will be created in collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland, the main collaborating organization, people living with dementia and their carers, the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice at the University of the West of Scotland, the Scottish Dementia Working Group, National Carers Action Network, and other relevant bodies. In the UK there are an estimated 800,000 people with dementia with a current cost of over 23 billion. Responding to this challenge will require innovative ways of supporting people with dementia to live well from the early stages of the illness. The Design Fellowship will be focused on this key early stage in the dementia journey. Whilst there are an estimated 88,000 people with dementia in Scotland, only 50% of cases have been identified. Alzheimer Scotland works directly with over 60 link workers who provide post-diagnostic support. The key aim of this research is to develop disruptive design interventions (e.g. products, systems, services) for breaking the cycle of well-formed opinions, strategies, mindsets, and ways-of-doing, that tend to remain unchallenged in the health and social care of people living with dementia in the UK. The project aims to:
1. Help change the perception of dementia by showing people with dementia they can offer much to UK society after diagnosis.
2. Create a series of designed interventions that will reconnect people recently diagnosed with dementia to build self-esteem, identity and dignity.
3. Develop interventions that will provide ongoing benefits in keeping the person with dementia connected to their community, delaying the need for formal support and avoid the need for crisis responses.
4. Explore how prevention and early intervention might enable both carers and people living with dementia to have greater choice and control in their lives.
5. Work with people recently diagnosed and their carers to participate in the creation of the designed interventions and develop and test these interventions in a number of Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Resource Centres and Dementia Cafes located throughout Scotland.
The fellowship will adopt a largely interventionist approach, which is based on a number of emerging theories emanating from research in economics, business, and design. This disruptive design interventionist approach, which celebrates jumping straight in, doing things in order to learn new things, and valuing failure, involves a three-step process (observing, reflecting, and acting) over the course of the 12 months. A number of disruptive design workshops will be held during the design research fellowship. Workshops will be held with people living with dementia, their carer(s), staff from Alzheimer Scotland and other relevant stakeholders. The aim being to disrupt the cycle of well-formed opinions, strategies, mindsets, and ways-of-doing, that tend to remain unchallenged in the health and social care of people living with dementia in the UK. Dissemination will managed by the fellow in conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland’s Communications Team. The project will seek to engage with both academic and public audiences, which will help to increase the accessibility of the research work conducted to the general public. The Fellow will disseminate project outcomes to the public via hands-on sessions at a number of Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Cafes, Resource Centres and through Alzheimer Scotland connections within local communities. The development and evaluation of the proposed design interventions will help to address the significant lack of evidence on outcomes and the current state of service delivery for people living with dementia and their carer(s) in the UK. In short, it will help improve the evidence base.