A line of homeware that has been specifically designed with dementia sufferers in mind has been launched. The range, which includes clocks, crockery and other gadgets, will be available on the high street and aid those who have difficulties with confusion and memory loss. Carers will be able to purchase the items from a chain of chemists soon.
Lloyds Pharmacy will stock all 14 elements of the range across 59 stores under the Unforgettable brand. One of the pieces is a clock that not only offers the time, but also the date and year. As the condition progresses, the timepiece can be adapted to simply say: “Now, it’s Saturday morning”. This type of functionality makes the items flexible to the needs of people with dementia.
There are many issues surrounding Alzheimer’s disease that anyone who hasn’t seen it first-hand may never have considered. Elderly people with the condition often forget to drink, for example, and dehydration is one of the leading causes of hospital admissions for those with dementia. Staff at care homes can help to ensure that they are taking on enough fluids, but a cup that flashes a reminder could also be very useful.
Another innovation is a telephone that features photos of contacts as opposed to numbers or names. This makes it much easier for patients to identify who they want to call, giving them increased independence. A music player with just two controls also means it is less confusing to operate for those with impaired cognition.
Keeping food warm is another challenge, as those with Alzheimer’s disease often eat slowly. They are also prone to spilling, so the Unforgettable range targets both of these issues. The plates and bowls have high sides and rubber grips, making them easier to hold and harder to knock over, while keeping the contents hot.
The homeware line was designed by James Ashwell, who acted as his mother’s carer for five years. He saw the everyday challenges that she faced before she sadly passed away from dementia. This insight was invaluable when developing the range and may go some way to help other sufferers and their carers.
Mr Ashwell told the Daily Mail: “When someone has a child, there are so many books and whole aisles of products people can buy. When a family member has dementia, they are increasingly dependent on you but there is nothing for them.
“In my mum’s case, we had to find our own solutions, getting chef’s gloves from a factory in Northampton so that she could not burn herself cooking, or children’s jigsaw puzzles when she found them harder to do.”
His ideas ranged from a blouse with magnetic fastenings, because his mother kept ripping the buttons off when she got to changed, to soles for shoes with tracking devices inside. When Lloyds Pharmacy heard Mr Ashwell’s story and the way he wanted to help those with dementia to live their lives with greater ease, they decided to get involved. The range will be priced between £12.49 and £249.99 when it is launched.