On Our Radar worked with those living with dementia to design a solution that made it easier for them to tell their stories. Radar created 3D printed mobile handsets which were customised to be as simple as possible. They had a single button on the front that said ‘report’ and this connected each person to a dedicated voicemail inbox without any charge.

By calling in to their inbox, participants avoided having to speak directly to anyone. This had been something that they had said they found difficult and daunting when Radar spoke to them in the co-design process at the start of the project.

Instead, they could record an audio diary entry that captured their thoughts and experiences as they occurred, without being interrupted.

The audio diaries came into a centralised system as digital audio files and the Radar team were able to listen to them and check them to make sure participants were safe. They were then edited and curated into diaries and published online.

This was all backed by an intensive mentoring and support process. This allowed the editorial team to:

  • ensure the participants were comfortable and informed
  • develop media stories from diary entries
  • create a professional space where humans could connect with one another

In the first few months, participants submitted more than 1000 diary entries. The project continues to grow in numbers and reach.

It is now managed by a dementia empowerment network called DEEP.  As well as being hosted on a dedicated website, the Dementia Diaries have been featured in Buzzfeed, Sky News, BBC and by European media outlets.