Healing Spaces

“A smart platform that allows caregivers to transform spaces through light, color, sounds, and visuals, turning any environment into a place where older adults living with dementia can focus, engage, and relax.”

I was a designer and usability researcher on this MFA thesis project by Gabriela Gomes.

I am incredibly proud to have contributed to Healing Spaces. This project was based on evidence that multi-sensory activities can help older adults with dementia relax and engage with their environment. It was my first time helping to design interactive experiences for this population. We ran a pilot of the system at a memory care community and I got to meet the residents and their professional caregivers face to face. It was so rewarding to see how even a relatively simple experience through Healing Spaces — with a visual and auditory backdrop and tactile, scented props — created new context and opportunities for the residents and caregivers to connect with one another. The pilot showed great promise for the feasibility of Healing Spaces, which will be studied for its therapeutic impact in the future.

Read our published paper on Healing Spaces

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One of the most striking lessons I learned from working on and showing this project was that even something designed for a very specific population with unique needs can appeal to and help many other kinds of people. Caregivers at the community said Healing Spaces was meditative and relaxing for them too; guests at E3 mentioned family members with a variety of conditions to whom they wanted to bring Healing Spaces; and middle school children at IndieCade played intently with the kinetic sand and seashells in one of the sensory boxes. Healing Spaces might be intended to address symptoms of dementia, but its potential goes far beyond that.

Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab’s Digital Dozen Award Winner 2019

Nominated for Best Student Game & People’s Choice Award, 2019 Games for Change Awards

Selected for IndieCade Festival 2018, Gaming Everywhere Showcase

Official Multimedia Selection, European Forum of Primary Care 2018

Selected for IndieCade Showcase at E3 2018

Selected for the 2018 USC Games Expo

A “Top Idea” from the OpenIDEO Caregiving for Dementia Challenge

More about Healing Spaces

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