Co-designing new services to help people living with dementia stay connected to their community

Project type:

Co-design

 

Partners: 

Australian Multicultural Community Services (AMCS)

Dementia Australia

Location: 

Maidstone, Victoria. Australia

AMCS provide care services to seniors within the multicultural community in Melbourne’s inner west. With funding and support from Dementia Australia, we ran a co-design project to understand how people with dementia that speak english as their second language, engage with the community. We spent time understanding the challenges they face and what they desire, so that together, we could design new services that would enable continued connection to their community and avoid isolation. 

Approach

 

There are many ways people can experience dementia, so it was important to design the workshops in a way that created an environment that made it possible for everyone to contribute.  English was a second language for almost all of the participants, so we had to ensure that we could communicate effectively. We conducted a lot of research prior to the commencement of the project to ensure the facilities we used and any tools or information were in a format that enabled participation. Where possible we used pictures rather than words, to avoid any communication barriers. 

We ran 2 x co-design workshops to create the new concepts.  Workshop one had 10 participants who were either living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia. It focused on empathising and understanding the world of the participants.  We completed a 'day in the life of' exercise,  and explored how participants use different community services such as public transport, how they contribute to the community, attend appointments, catch up with friends and family, and interact with businesses. This gave us a good understanding of what people were experiencing on a day to day basis, and also insight into what makes them happy or challenges them.

Workshop two had many of the same participants from workshop one, and added experts from sector representative organisations such as Dementia Australia and Carers Victoria. In this session we explored the challenges we we identified in workshop one in more detail. We used storytelling as a way to dive deeper into the chosen topics and collated further insights. In the second half of the workshop, we ran an ideation process that allowed us to create many new ideas that addressed the challenges. Next, the participants choose the top 2 ideas that would solve the problem and were possible for AMCS to deliver. We then prototyped those ideas and received feedback on their desirability. 

Outcomes

 

  • 2 new services AMCS could offer their clients, that were co-designed and tested by service users and sector experts. Giving AMCS confidence that the new services would be highly desirable when launched.

  • A presentation that summarised our research and explained the process we followed during the project. Using this presentation, AMCS have been holding information sessions with organisations and local government, to educate others on what it is like for people living with dementia, and to inform the community on ways to build better services to meet their needs. 

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