New Designs to Improve Independence
by Kathy Kelly, Executive Director, Family Caregiver Alliance There is a growing interest in designing new products and services to improve the independence of adults with cognitive and physical disabilities and to make life easier for family caregivers. A recent “MindDesign” Student Design Challenge sponsored by the Stanford Center on Longevity in collaboration with Aging 2.0, saw submissions from 52 student teams across 15 countries. The winner of the competition was just announced, Sha Yao, a student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for her project “EatWell”, a redesign of table settings modified to make eating easier for adults with cognitive impairments. The seven finalist teams represented a wide range of ideas from a spoon that electronically stimulates the taste buds for those with diminished taste sensation, to a gaming experience that teaches touch-screen techniques through care coordination programs for caregivers. [Read about the winning projects.] As new products and services come to market, Family Caregiver Alliance is busy creating a section of our website dedicated to bringing these types of product innovations directly to family caregivers. As always, consumer information and education will be part of this effort as product designers launch cutting-edge products that make life easier for adults with disabilities and the families that care for them. Look for our new online product section, on www.caregiver.org, in May 2014!