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DIY hacks to create a dementia-friendly home

Lien Foundation, Lekker Architects and Lanzavecchia +Wai Design Studio show persons living with dementia and their carers practical hacks and solutions to live and care better.

Text by Vanitha Pavapathi

Did you know that someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds? And the isolation during this pandemic has also accelerated the deterioration in people with dementia symptoms, causing confusion and loneliness at the best of times. This degenerative brain disorder which affects memory, speech, reason and personality eventually rob one’s sense of self.

Hack Care for dementia friendly homes (2)

Hack Care is modelled after the IKEA catalogue for its familiarity and universal appeal.

Rapidly ageing Singapore is no different. According to a 2013 study led by the Institute of Mental Health, one in ten Singaporeans aged 60 years old and above are more prevalent to developing dementia. So how do we mitigate the impact this incurable disease has on dementia sufferers and their carers? Born out of the desire to show how one can care better for persons with dementia through simple hacks and creative ideas, Lien Foundation together with Lekker Architects and Lanzavecchia +Wai Design Studio developed Hack Care, a catalogue of DIY hacks to create dementia-friendly homes.

With over 240 pages of simple, creative interventions and design innovations for the home, the publication combines the design and research insights of Lekker Architects with the expertise of industrial design from Lanzavecchia +Wai Design Studio, as well as caregiving wisdom from Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA), Brahm Centre and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

Hack Care for dementia friendly homes (6)

Modified handles and support make it easier for elderly user to sit down and stand up independently in this hacked version of IKEA’s classic POÄNG armchair.

Hack Care for dementia friendly homes (3)

This mobile table with a multi-purpose grab bar adapts to various scenarios and setups.

Styled like an IKEA catalogue with online instruction manuals, the team behind the book used the Swedish furniture giant’s product to assemble practical hacks. But Hack Care is not confined to IKEA products. Instead, it presents a whole range of possibilities for caregivers that correspond to their different scales of ambition and the wide-ranging needs of persons with dementia – from larger-scale hacks like improvising the IKEA POÄNG chair to simple ones like camouflaging an exit door in a colour similar to its adjacent walls.

Hack Care for dementia friendly homes

The fidget board is designed for tactile stimulation.

After three years in the making, HackCare was launched on 13 September and 500 copies are available to the public for free (request via Hack Care website). The book is also available for download on its website. In hopes to contribute to the resources of the local as well as international dementia community, just as it had done with a collection of 50 real-life caregivers’ videos released in 2019, Lien Foundation will also be conducting a live demonstration of hacking ideas on 21st and 28 September at 7pm on its Facebook page. Such efforts are part of the philanthropic house’s approach to using and embedding design in its work to create value, shape behaviours and tackle problems with fresh solutions.

Hack Care
www.hackcare.sg

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