Designs for patients with dementia

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By Kelly Vencill Sanchez
Stanford’s Center on Longevity recognizes a colorful table set designed to aid Alzheimer's patients.

A set of tableware aimed at making mealtime easier for people with Alzheimer’s has won the Stanford Center on Longevity’s inaugural design challenge. This year's theme, Maximizing Independence for Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment, is timely: The World Health Organization estimates that 36 million people worldwide now suffer from dementia—a number that’s projected to double by 2050. Then there’s the cost associated with caring for individuals with memory impairments: Depending on whether the care is provided in a facility or at home, 24-hour supervision can range from $6,000 to more than $10,000 a month alone.

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This seven-piece tableware set designed by Sha Yao for Alzheimer's patients includes anti-slip bowls, anti-tipping mugs, and curved spoons.

Sha Yao, a recent graduate of San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, received first place and $10,000 for her "Eatwell," a seven-piece set featuring colorful anti-slip bowls, anti-tipping mugs and curved spoons. The designer said she was inspired by her own experiences with her late grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s. "I felt that there must be something I can do to help make life easier for her." Yao hopes to have Eatwell in production by the end of the year.

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Second place and $5,000 went to the team at the Keio-NUS CUTE Center at the National University of Singapore for "Taste+," a spoon that electrically stimulates the taste buds to improve eating for individuals with diminished taste sensation. 

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The "Taste+" spoon, designed by the Keio-NUS CUTE Center at the National University of Singapore, electrically stimulates taste buds to improve eating for individuals with diminished taste sensation.

Ritika Mathur of Denmark’s Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design won third place and $2,000 for "Memory Maps," a device that uses GPS technology and a radio frequency identification reader to enable individuals with early-stage memory impairment and their loved ones to record and map experiences.

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Designed by Ritika Mathur of Denmark’s Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, "Memory Maps" uses GPS technology and a radio frequency identification reader to enable individuals with early-stage memory impairment to record and map experiences.

The other finalists included: