Designing for dementia: iIterative grief and transitional objects

Gail Kenning, Cathy Treadaway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


Designers increasingly are exploring how to support individuals transitioning through loss and grief and coming to terms with a loved one’s death. For people living with dementia and their families, the loss and grief they experience is iterative and ongoing. This paper discusses design research to make sensory textile objects for people with advanced dementia, intended to support positive well-being, shared experiences, and “in the moment” pleasure. It draws on theories relating to transitional and transformational objects to show how these textiles support those living with dementia as they transition into greater dependency and move toward the end of life. It shows how, after their death, the objects become memorials and symbolic representations, further supporting family members through their experience of loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-53
Number of pages12
JournalDesign Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Co-design
  • Dementia
  • Grief and loss
  • Sensory textile
  • Technology
  • sensory textile
  • dementia
  • grief and loss
  • technology


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