CASE STUDY: Design & build

Microsite to help children understand dementia

Creating a platform to help young people better understand dementia

Introduction

Alzheimer's Research UK is the UK’s leading research charity aiming to defeat dementia.

They power world class studies that give the best chance of beating dementia sooner. Their pioneering work focuses on prevention, treatment and cure.

Distinction was commissioned to create a new website for Alzheimer's Research UK with the aim of helping young people better understand dementia.

A recent YouGov poll revealed that nearly three in ten parents in the UK say their children aged 18 and under have felt the impact of dementia, with 11% saying their children currently have a family member living with the condition.

Alzheimer

The opportunity

While there are already a number of sources of dementia information for adults, the latest statistics highlight the need for information aimed at younger people.

The website, Dementia Explained, developed with input from children and families that have experience of dementia, is divided into three sections with the content and design tailored for younger children, older children, and teenagers.

Key features

The sections include illustrated online books and games for children, information about dementia research and scientific careers for teenagers and an interactive virtual tour of the brain for each age group.

The site includes a retro arcade-style game called ‘Amyloids’, which sees players learning about the biology of Alzheimer’s while protecting the brain from the harmful amyloid protein and other proteins known to build up in the brain in the disease.

Screenshot of Dementia Explained - Explore the Brain

The website also includes quotes and experiences provided by young people who have a family member with dementia. Visitors to the site are able to submit their own experiences of dementia and post pictures, videos and pieces of writing that they might like to share with other young people.

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Dementia Explained uses engaging content that will appeal to children of different ages to demystify dementia and explain why and how the condition can affect someone. It’s important for young people to appreciate that changes in the way that a family member may be behaving are nobody’s fault, least of all theirs, but the result of changes affecting how the brain works.

Educating the next generation about dementia is critical if we are to overcome the stigma that still surrounds the condition today.”

The Dementia Explained website has been developed with funding from Legal & General, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Eisai Ltd.

What do Alzheimer's Research UK say?

Edith BowmanBroadcaster and Alzheimer’s Research UK supporter

"I think this is a brilliant project. As a parent of young children, it is great to see such a fantastic array of age-appropriate dementia resources all in one place. Dementia affects so many families that it’s high time there was a site like this dedicated to children and teens.

I can also see this site being a real help for parents who would like to talk through the condition with their children and explain why a family member might be behaving in an unusual way. Dementia isn’t like a lot of other illnesses and children can have so many questions that aren’t always easy to answer. The stories, information and activities on Dementia Explained will really help with this.”

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