Mahuru: creating an enriching visual sensory experience for older adults living with dementia


Katie was a summer student working on a mobile sensory based intervention that aims to create an enriching visual sensory experience for older adults living with dementia.

The number of people with dementia is set to increase as the population increases. Due to their deteriorating cognitive abilities, a person with dementia often finds it hard to communicate their needs which can often lead to depression, anxiety and agitation. Mahuru aims to create a sensory enriching experience through visuals, enhancing the quality of life of those with dementia through a low cost, mobile sensory based intervention.

Through multiple conversations with specialists at Auckland City Hospital as well as Māori within the community, Katie was able to create a website that could be accessed by both English and Māori speaking citizens living with dementia. These conversations led to the naming of the website, ‘Mahuru’ as it means to be soothed, set at rest, settled, calmed and appeased. We felt that this was a good name for the website as it represented what we wanted the website to achieve, creating a stress-free environment for older adults with dementia.

Using both visual and text prompts, the user is able to navigate their way through the website. Subconsciously navigating the narrative of their own story.

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