POTTERY firm Wade Ceramics is producing tableware tailor-made to suit customers with dementia.
The Eturia-based company’s Dignity range is packed with features ensuring mugs, plates, dishes and teapots can be used by people gripped with confusion and other symptoms of the illness.
The ‘assistive ware’ may now be in homes across Europe – but the seeds of the idea were much closer to home.
They were set when husband and wife owners Paul and Kate Farmer both had their lives touched by dementia.
Each had a parent diagnosed with the condition and then other relatives followed.
It was while helping their loved-ones that they found a huge gap in the ceramics market – the lack of suitable crockery to help those struggling to perform the vital tasks of eating and drinking.
Traditional dinner sets can prove almost useless for people living with dementia – risking them missing out on nutrition and fluids to keep them alive.
But Kate, pictured, who lost her father to the disease 16 years ago, found the only ware to suit such needs was hard to get hold off, expensive, heavy and ugly.
They tracked down academics at Stirling University who lead the field in dementia research and development.
Then, working closely with the university, they designed the Dignity collection which was launched eight years ago.
Besides being in care homes and household kitchens across Britain, it can now be found in many European countries and Wade’s has just had an approach from New Zealand.
The range includes mugs and teapots with big and sometimes double handles to stop spillage by shaking hands and wide rimmed plates and dishes to help scooping and lifting food.
There are purposely no cups as people prone to spilling drinks take in more fluid from mugs.
And most of the ware is bright green and yellow as the ability to recognise white is one of the first things to go.
Kate said: “They can be sitting there with a white sandwich on a white plate or water or milk in a white mug and not even know it is there.
“There is also a finger bowl to hold snacks as people will find it easier to eat food by hand than try and use cutlery.
“Research shows that these features can help people raise their nutrition and hydration by up to 50 per cent.
“But it also allows them to eat with more dignity and independence.”
Despite record numbers with dementia now managing to stay longer in their own homes, the range is still not widely available in High Street chains.
Kate said: “They seem to have a problem over how and where to display it with other products. But we keep chipping away as with dementia being on the rise, the solution rests with all of society recognising and helping tackle it. The range is mainly supplied through our distributor but people can still buy in from our website.”
Professor June Andrews, who has just stepped down as director of the Stirling dementia services development centre, said: “Having attractive crockery can make a big difference to our appetite.
“People with dementia have special requirements. They need coloured plates to help see what they are eating and cups need to have big handles for two fingers to slip through.
“We are always interested in new ideas and Wade’s products are the best we have seen so far.”
Read more: http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/wade-ceramics-breaks-mould-with-8216-dignity-8217-crockery-range-for-dementia-sufferers/story-29411004-detail/story.html#ixzz4DQkclsP3
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