A step-by-step approach to cooking for a person with dementia.

New step-by-step recipes that caregivers can personalise for a person with dementia.

The new paper recipe called “Happje” (“bite” in Dutch) was developed through an iterative design process. Thirteen cycles of building a prototype, evaluating it with the target group, and creating a redesign were completed. At each iteration, the target group of people with dementia and caregivers was consulted to ensure the designed tool addressed the participants’ needs, values, abilities, and everyday context [1].

People with dementia may struggle with planning and figuring out the order of the cooking steps, not necessarily with executing them [2]. Yamaguchi et al. [3] found step-by-step guidance beneficial for improving the performance of people with dementia as it takes the challenges of the planning and order of steps out of their hands. Happje implements this approach by offering step-by-step instructions for recipes. Each step only mentions a single task and each step mentions the number of ingredients and where they should be added. Lastly, since the linguistic reading capabilities of people with dementia tend to decline over time [4], and comprehending written instructions may become challenging, icons are added to visually represent each step’s tools, actions, and ingredients.

Happje is presented on paper (instead of on a digital interface) as all previous iterative paper prototypes were easy to use and non-intimidating for the elderly participants. Happje also presents multiple steps on a single page to ensure users can keep an overview of the entire sequence of tasks. Due to the decline in short-term memory [5], people with dementia may also forget the actions they have just executed or why they have set a timer. For this reason, Happje includes a magnetic pawn, which users use to mark the step they are currently working on and remember which actions they have completed. Caregivers can also look at the pawn to keep track of the progress.

We have published a paper on the effect of Happje, which you can find at: One Step at a Time: Evaluation of a Step-By-Step Recipe Tool Designed for People with Dementia | SpringerLink

Yvon Ruitenburg

Yvon Ruitenburg

Project details

  • Designers: Yvon Ruitenburg, Rens Brankaert and Gert Pasman
  • Period: September 2021 until March 2022
  • Partners: Eindhoven University of Technology, Delft University of Technology

Relevant literature and references

1. Houben M, Brankaert R, Kenning G, Bongers I, Eggen B (2022) Designing for everyday sounds at home with people with dementia and their partners. In: CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, New York, NY, USA, April, pp 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1145/3491102.3501993

2. Dirkse R, Kessels R, Hoogeveen F, van Dixhoorn I (2011) (Op)nieuw geleerd, oud gedaan: over het lerend vermogen van mensen met dementie. Bohn Stafleu van Loghum (BSL)

3. Yamaguchi T, Foloppe DA, Richard P, Richard E, Allain P (2012) A dual-modal virtual reality kitchen for (Re)learning of everyday cooking activities in Alzheimer’s disease. Presence 21(1):43–57. https:// doi.org/10.1162/PRES_a_00080

4. Cummings JL, Houlihan JP, Hill MA (1986) The pattern of reading deterioration in dementia of the Alzheimer type: observations and implications. Brain Lang 29(2):315–323. https://doi.org/10.1016/0093934X(86)90051-9

5. Memory loss and dementia | Alzheimer’s Society. https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/sym ptoms-and-diagnosis/symptoms/memory-loss. Accessed 19 May 2022

Video of Happje: step-by-step cooking