A national challenge to develop design-led ideas for products and services that make lives simpler and more enjoyable for those with dementia and their carers was launched today by The Design Council and the Department of Health.
The 'Living well with dementia' project will offer five teams a share of £360,000 alongside professional support to develop working prototypes and business models over the next five months.
The challenge is aiming to recruit teams with a variety of expertise, including designers, social entrepreneurs, businesses, service providers, support groups or individuals who may already have good ideas.
Commenting on the project, Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow said: "Dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face as the population ages. It currently affects 750,000 people in the UK and that number is set to double over the next 30 years.
"To make sure we continue to improve health outcomes and manage the growing costs associated with this, we need to think smart and do things differently.
"If diagnosed early and given the right support people with dementia can continue to live well for a number of years. By engaging with businesses and the third sector I hope we will stimulate some creative thinking about how best to help people with dementia get the most out of their lives, rather than just focusing on symptoms."
The submissions will be judged by an Advisory Board consisting of experts in dementia, health and social care, business and design and chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of International Longevity Centre. Baroness Greengross explained what winning ideas the board is looking for:
"Innovative ideas are necessary if we are to meet the real needs of the growing numbers of people with dementia. This new, diverse, mixture of people coming together should give us an exciting set of proposals reflecting the urgency of need and the importance of creativity and innovation in meeting them."
David Kester, CEO of the Design Council said: "This is an exciting opportunity for designers, businesses, communities to work on a project that will make such a difference to people's lives. We can see the stats around the issue but the reality of it is that dementia is something that will and does affect every family in Britain. Previous challenges have shown the impact design plays in addressing difficult social and health issues and I think teams will once again drive the innovation curve."
The closing date for entries is 30 September 2011 with final teams to be announced on the 14th of November 2011.