Stigmas is a collection of furniture that embody issues relating to the physical, cognitive and attitudinal challenges older people face in everyday life. these critical artefacts do not present solutions but a series of considered questions that illuminate a landscape of old age.
Funded by : British Council
Partners: Chang Gung University, Taiwan. University of the third Age
Project team: Paul Chamberlain
Design is as much about searching for the question as seeking the answer
Stigmas have been a feature of the engagingaging series of exhibitions.
The Stigma chairs won major prize in the ‘imagining chairs’ category of the ‘Art on Chairs’ international Design Competition (Parades Furniture Design Pole & Design Institute for Design, Media and Culture Research, Portugal). The chairs also features as an anchor point on the Art on Chairs exhibition, Parades , Portugal (2012) and Bilbao, Spain (2013), resulting in collaboration with furniture manufacturer Jose Fernando Loueiro Dos Santos Ltd to produce the chairs.
Stigmas were also exhibited at Insight2 :engaging the health humanities exhibition, University of Alberta, Canada (2013)
The engagingaging series of exhibitions has been hosted at a number of venues including: the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei; Building Centre, London; the Taipei Cultural Centre; and the SIA gallery, Sheffield, and underpins a collaborative project with Chang Gung University and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan (British Council PMI CONNECT funded).
The Stigma chairs won major prize in the ‘imagining chairs’ category of the ‘Art on Chairs’ international Design Competition (Parades Furniture Design Pole & Design Institute for Design, Media and Culture Research, Portugal).
This research seeks to understand the benefits that design and digital technologies might bring in offering new ways to, firstly, express a sense of who they are in the present, and, secondly, to make objects and media content that will support other people after one’s death
Funded by EPSRC
Partners: Northumbria University; Newcastle University; BBC; Marie Curie; CRUSE Bereavement; National Council for Palliative Care
Project lead: Claire Craig
Project team: Helen Fisher
The project is a design engagement with older people,
people living with dementia, people approaching the end of their lives and
people who are bereaved.
We are living in a time when life expectancy is the highest it has ever been (81.5 years average life expectancy in the UK).
However, this positive achievement of medicine and modern ways of living means that as the nature of growing older is changing, so too is end-of-life. Whilst promoting the inclusion of older people in society enriches our social make-up it also gives rise to new challenges.
For example, there is an increasing demand for care, but reductions in resource available to support the older old and a reduction in people using local authority supported care services.
In terms of bereavement, studies have identified a huge hidden cost associated not only with increased mortality of the bereaved but also their increased hospital stay and bereavement-related consultations. In Scotland alone this hidden and latent cost translates into £20 million per year.
Of the 500,000 people who die each year in the UK, currently around 92,000 die with unmet needs for palliative care. The increasingly complex needs of more people who are living longer with life-limiting conditions is positioned by Hospice UK as a current grand societal challenge as the demand for care at the end of life is set to rise steeply between 2016 and 2025.
“This research addresses the big questions to interrogate the meaning of life and death in the digital age”
Personal digital content and assets are continuously being created, by us and around us. Through social and personal media we are creating status updates, voice recordings, conversations, videos, photographs and blogs which all contribute to the coalescence of a digital trail and identity. However, what we cannot purposefully do is curate these digital assets to specifically support a sense-of-self, help people deal with their own approaching end-of-life, nor help others deal with bereavement.
This research study therefore seeks to work with individuals facing major life transitions to help curate their digital content through a creative process to embed this within a series of personal digital artefacts that the person will own and which will support them at points of transition (e.g. following bereavement, managing a long term condition).
Lifestyle Matters is a research based intervention which equips community living older people with the skills to re-design their day to day lives.
Funded by Medical Research Council Partnered with University of Sheffield & University of Bangor
Team Lead: Claire Craig
Global ageing has been described as the greatest triumph and challenge of the twenty-first century (World Health Organisation). There is strong evidence to suggest that when older people are supported to engage in meaningful activity they experience increased quality of life and mental wellbeing.
Lifestyle Matters is an intervention aimed at helping older people to help each other to live life to the full. Comprising of group and individual sessions, community living people are enabled to explore the relationship between meaningful activity, health and wellbeing and redesign their lifestyle to embed health-promoting changes into everyday routines.
Research was undertaken in 2005 to build understanding of the experiences of older people, and the intervention was co-designed with older people (Craig and Mountain). Findings of an initial study based on this research showed that the approach empowered community living older people to examine their lives and to re-design the way that everyday activities were undertaken to accommodate some of the physical, emotional and cognitive challenges they faced as a consequence of ageing.
Between 2011-2015 the intervention was the subject of a pragmatic, two arm parallel group individually randomised controlled trial (RCT) (Lifestyle Matters vs standard care). In addition to quantitative health outcomes, a purposeful sample of 13 participants aged between 66 and 88 years from the intervention arm of the RCT were interviewed.
“Lifestyle Matters for me was a pointer, a signpost to my future as a single older person giving me some answers to what I might do and what I could do and I would recommend it to anyone.”
(Lifestyle Matters intervention interviewee)
The interviews revealed that the majority of interviewed participants were reportedly active at 24 months, with daily routines and lifestyles not changing significantly over time. All participants described benefit from attending Lifestyle Matters, including an improved perspective on life, trying new hobbies and meeting new friends. A number of intervention participants spoke of adapting to their changing circumstances, and there were significant and lasting benefits for a number of the intervention participants interviewed.
Cited as the intervention of choice
The intervention was cited in the National Institute of Clinical Health Excellence Guidelines (2008 and 2015) as the intervention of choice to promote mental well being in community living older people.
Commissioned in the UK, used world-wide
The programme is commissioned by mainstream services in the UK and is used all over the world
Related research on Sheffield Hallam University’s Research Archive
The aim of the research is to co-design a multi-dimensional, cross-disciplinary and personalised coaching system. Leveraging ICT social connectivity, NESTORE will support older people to sustain independence. The system will operate through tangible objects as well as software and apps.
Funded by Horizon2020.
Partners: Politecnico di Milano (Polytechnic University of Milan), AGE – Age Platform Europe AISBL, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italian National Research Council), EURECAT – Fundacio Eurecat, FLEX – Flextronics Design S.R.L, FSIE – Fundacio Salut i Envelliment
Project Team: Lead – Paul Chamberlain Claire Craig, Nick Dulake, Kathi Chamberlain
The ageing population is growing fast in the EU. ICT can procide solutions for Active Ageing, however the success of novel ICT solutions depends on user perception about their efficacy to support toward health promotion and global wellness.
NESTORE will develop an innovative, multi-dimensional, personalized coaching system to support healthy ageing by: 1) Generating and sustaining motivation to take care of health; 2) Suggesting healthy nutrition and personalized physical and mental coaching, as well as social interaction, to prevent decline and preserve wellbeing.
Lab4Living is part of the NESTORE consortium which comprises 16 partners from 8 European countries.
Through co-creation workshops with community living older people, the Lab4Living team are building understanding of the hopes and aspirations of participants to gain insights as to what individuals find meaningful, in order to inform the types of activities that NESTORE may offer to engage and motivate end users of the product. The workshops have explored what is meaningful in people’s lives and adopt the ‘exhibition-in-a-box’ co-design methodology developed and facilitated by the Lab4Living design research team. The methodology uses a collection of carefully chosen objects designed to stimulate and prompt conversation, and enable participants to share their experiences.
“Using the ‘Exhibition in a Box’ methodology has enabled the participants to share in detail some of the factors affecting their perceptions and acceptance of technology, which informs how NESTORE might support older people’s engagement in health promoting activities.”
(Claire Craig, Lab4Living)
A key strength of the methodological approach followed in NESTORE is the engagement of end-users at all stages of the design process. Participatory methods permeate every aspect of the research in order to ensure that the end-product reflects the community’s needs and perceptions.
Working with Lab4Living researchers, the ‘expert-by-experience’ (‘EBE’) group, a group made up of ten older people whose ages ranged from 54-93, have analysed the workshop findings and are recording and sharing their experiences of technology in their every day lives.
The shared findings will inform the content of the technological development of the system through an iterative process and ongoing dialogue with the ‘EBE’ group.
The research is building understanding of user requirements of the technology and the factors that promote and inhibit use, and will explore other potential contexts where the technology may be used.
The Design to Care Programme seeks to rethink how palliative and end of life care can be provided equitably, efficiently and sustainably for future generations. The Life Café Kit is a result of the programme, and is designed to promote and support conversations about what individuals find meaningful in life and in care.
Funded by Marie Curie Partnered with University of Cambridge
Team: Helen Fisher, Claire Craig, Paul Chamberlain
Drawing on long-established ethical principles, the UK General Medical Council articulates good end of life care as that which ‘helps patients with life-limiting conditions to live as well as possible until they die and to die with dignity’ (GMC 2009 p.3).
The last decade has witnessed a demographic change on unprecedented scale.
People are living longer and with more complex, long term conditions such as cancer and dementia. Our palliative and end of life care services will be required to meet the needs of our ageing population under increasing pressure.
The Life Café is one of the outputs of the Design to Care programme which seeks to rethink how palliative and end of life care can be provided equitably, efficiently and sustainably for future generations.
The community engagement aspect of the Design to Care programme focuses on understanding what is important to different individuals in life, in care, and towards end of life. A methodology has been developed by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University’s Lab4Living, to enable research to be gathered in an informal, comfortable manner within existing community groups and familiar environments. This has been named the Life Café.
“This has made an incredible difference to me today to share these things and listen to you all.”
Life Café Participant
“Good care is ‘talking, listening, communicating, trusting, consistency, choice and time.”
Life Café Participant
Taking the method of ‘exhibition in a box’, a form of object elicitation developed by Chamberlain and Craig (2013) as the starting point, this study curated a series of creative activities, to scaffold thinking and to prompt conversation. The Life Café is comprised of a variety of critical artefacts, activities and resources, co-developed with community members, that have been used to gather stories, experiences and ideas to support the design phase of the project.
Our iterative methodology of using resources and artefacts, analysing data, generating themes, then modifying the resources has been a form of behind-the-scenes co-design. Participants have shaped the contents of the Life Cafe and enabled others to talk about sensitive topics more easily, without really realizing. This iterative co-design process has occurred through every element, activity and resource included in the Life Café Kit, even the graphic design and the packaging design.
11 Life Cafés facilitated 141 participants
In the first phase of the Design to Care Programme, 11 Life Cafés have been facilitated with a total of 141 participants (from groups including chaplains, faith groups, coffee morning socials and mixed community groups), using convenience sampling.
The Life Café Kit
Life Cafés were continued to develop a kit for independent facilitation. The life café has since been independently facilitated within 2 community groups, a care home and a hospice. The feedback from this will be consolidated and incorporated into the final version of the Kit. We have increasing interest in the Life Café Kit, not only for community groups but for use in schools, carer groups, staff training etc. to open the conversation up and bring awareness to organisations.
The Life Café as a method of eliciting the experiences of individuals in the context of meaning and care has been very successful. Particularly notable was its ability to enable community groups through this process to identify strength and mobilise knowledge and action. This sits well in the context of building compassionate communities.
The Life Café has elicited insights into how individuals conceptualise and describe good care, and a recognition of the pressure points in relation to delivery. The research offers glimpses of what better care might and could look like in the future. Future research will continue to utilise this method with other groups (health and social care staff, trusts and CCGs, carer groups, community groups etc.) to continue to build understanding in order to inform the redesign of end of life care provision.
Related research on Sheffield Hallam University’s Research Archive