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A Level student tackles dementia with technology

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A 17-YEAR-old A-level student at Melksham Oak Community School is attempting to use technology to help people live well with dementia.

Ben Davis, of Clover Close, Melksham, whose grandmother Maureen Wallace, 74, lives with dementia, said he wanted to make a positive impact on her life and the lives of many others by creating something that makes everyday life easier.

Ben’s dementia-friendly appliance will incorporate a clock, a pill box and a calendar and he will make it at school as part of his A-level product design project.

He took his idea to the Trowbridge-based charity, Alzheimer’s Support, to discuss concepts and designs that might be suitable and met with Chief Executive Officer Babs Harris.

Babs said: “We were impressed with Ben’s innovative approach to living with dementia and we will be supporting him throughout his project with whatever advice he may need.

“What really stood out to me is that Ben has intuitively attempted to solve three of the real, every-day problems that people living with dementia face.”

Ben said: “One of the reasons I decided to do this is that my grandma suffers with the disease herself so it is something that is close to my heart.

“Another reason is that I want to familiarise myself with the kind of work which I hope to do once I leave school, from the research stage to the manufacturing stage.

“My goal is to produce a product that can be a personal confidence booster for people with dementia. I want it to be sustainable as well as have ergonomic features which makes it safe and comfortable for the consumer to use.”

Ben is studying English Language, Geography and Product Design at A-level. He wants to find an apprenticeship in product design when he leaves school instead of going to university.

He has also obtained feedback on his designs from the Bath-based national charity, Designability Charity Ltd, at the University of Bath.

Founded in 1990, Alzheimer’s Support is an independent charity employing 120 staff and more than 150 volunteers with its head office in Trowbridge.

The charity operates throughout Wiltshire to provide flexible services for people living at home with all types of dementia and their family carers.

Services include award-winning day care, support at home, carers’ groups, carer training, Music for the Mind singing groups, memory cafes, art groups, Movement for the Mind exercise groups, discussion groups, wildlife clubs and life story groups.

Babs said: “Our Dementia Advisers give information and signpost to services that offer support to people with dementia and their families throughout the course of the illness.

“We support communities, businesses and organisations to become dementia-aware and we campaign on issues that affect people with dementia and their families.”

You will be able to find updates on Ben’s project on the Alzheimer’s Support website, Facebook and Twitter pages.


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