ACID Member Uses Design To Find Dementia Care Solution

When Ben Atkinson Willes’s grandfather became ill with Alzheimer’s disease he decided that he should use his creative skills to design something that not only could stimulate and trigger his grandfather’s mind to become more active and occupied but might also benefit a growing number of elderly people who suffer from the disease.

Ben’s Puzzles use a unique tested system, researched and designed especially for people of varying abilities and the focus of the design has been for people with Alzheimer’s disease. This new leisure time pursuit is achievable and enjoyable for all, including the carers and relatives who all enjoy using these puzzles made for a mature user.

The set of boxed puzzles form an essential piece of medical equipment for care homes and are made from very durable and washable materials, they have even been designed so that they can be easily managed from a wheelchair. A selection of generic images that sufferers are able to relate to, has given Alzheimer’s patients a sense of achievement and pride in this valuable leisure pursuit.

One of the first things Ben decided to do once he had created Ben’s Puzzles was to obtain a Registered Community Design (RCD) from OHIM so that, in effect, he had a piece of paper, a certificate saying that he owns the designs, thereby creating a monopoly right. Ben commented, “I am now in talks with a major retailer regarding the possibility of working with them closely to market the product amongst care homes and I feel somewhat reassured that I have put “belt and braces” protection around this new collection with an RCD. I also have access to the ACID help lines to talk me through further negotiations with other interested parties”.

Ben, a product and furniture a product design and furniture student at Kingston University has been supported and mentored in this new venture by Professor of Design Hilary Dalke, who said of the project, “These generic puzzle images researched by Ben for use in care homes, meet many needs of the Alzheimer’s disease community, from the sufferers and carers to the relatives who need a more appropriate way of spending their valuable leisure and social time together with mature pursuits”  

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