Compassionate Design Toolkit

One of the major challenges facing the world today is how to care for the increasing numbers of older people in society and help them to live well, right until the end of their lives. The World Health Organisation and Alzheimer’s International have identified the increase in numbers of people living with dementia as a particular challenge. Globally, about 47 million people were living with dementia in 2015, and this number is projected to triple by 2050. Designers need to be well informed if they are to create new products, services and environments to help meet the complex care needs of older people, particularly those living with dementia. Those in society who have the greatest need for good design are often the most vulnerable; those who find it difficult or impossible to articulate what they want due to physical, sensory or memory impairment as a result of accident or disease. These people need innovative design solutions that are highly appropriate, customizable and sustainable. Finding ways to understand the challenges these people face moment-by-moment and day-by-day is vital. Including them, and those who care for them, in a co-design process can provide rich insights into design requirements and result in better design solutions. This book presents Compassionate Design. It has evolved directly from our experience of designing for people living with advanced dementia and is underpinned by international research from a number of disciplines including psychology, neuroscience and design. Our aim in this publication is to present the Compassionate Design approach and provide examples of designs that have been guided by its themes. Each design story illustrates a design solution for someone living with advanced dementia and explains its relationship to the three key themes of Compassionate Design: Personalised, Sensory and Connecting. Using Compassionate Design, we believe we can begin to design a better world in which individuals living with severe cognitive impairment feel valued, retain their dignity and can experience loving connections with others. We know this is just the beginning of the story – there is more to do, learn and improve - but we have already found this approach useful and wish to share it with you.


Cardiff: Cardiff Met Press
ISBN 978-0-9929482-8-3