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Thread it together for them so they don't feel left.

To assist Alzheimer patients with a visual thread reminder that prompt emotional connection, even if they can't remember why.

Photo of amy mininger
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

The design is for Alzheimer's patients. My grandmother had Alzheimer's, and I learned about it at 11. She thought I was my mom all the time, but I didn't care. The emotional connection of my mom through my presence made her happy. Pictures were nice, but I noticed they weren't very motivating. The goal of the innovation is to create an innovation to trigger threads of a familiar presence, smell and form to make people feel they aren't left. With this disease, the end life process is extended

The attached pictures tell a story from this year.  My 80year old neighbor and nurse, Sally, moved out and into an Alzheimer assisted living facility last month.  She lived next door and we shared a fence.  She helped me grow my garden.  She would often be in my yard caring for my yard or coaching me.  When became aware of her diagnosis, she would joke and say id need to be sure she wasn't wandering naked in the neighborhood.  She repeated herself several times in conversation, but I didn't care.  She was happy to engage, and I leaned a lot.  She checked herself into assisted living on her own terms.  All that to say, Alzheimer's people know they are going to go slowly.  They just want to feel connected to authentic moments.  The design that would aid this process would be some kind of simulation of what they have known, people they loved, tangible experiences that touched their senses... Smell,color, similar form of a person.  And then, enable them to revisit that experience as a reminder of their life experiences or accomplishments.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Well, when I visited my grandmother when I was young, she didn't need my mom specifically to be there. She just needed familiar. So, similar is enough to satisfy the needs for comfort. When I visit my neighbor, Sally, she doesn't need my garden to talk about. She just needed to walk outside near flowers and woods to feel connected to her yard or my garden at home. Using our core senses of touch, smell, form might make the long process of dying with Alzheimer's a little easier.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I'd love help on building a curriculum for Alzheimer's assisted living care takers so they can become certified on customized care that is specific to the person's needs and life experiences. I'd like to create a formula for giving the awesome person that is dying a continued joy about their life and the parts that they enjoyed most. Then, when they are at the true end, they didn't feel they were left or dropped off at an assisted care center and no longer appreciated.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a marketing and sales person. At 22, I started working at CA in the technology world, road the start up wave, then started my own consulting practice for 8 years, where I helped standardized processes for growth in companies through "quick start" methods I designed. I moved to iJET, 1/2014.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


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