As a daily activity throughout our lives, cooking is largely automatic. Stirring, pouring, grinding, kneading, sprinkling; our hands know what to do. This is known as procedural memory and is the last to slip away in people with Alzheimer’s. Brard calls on these ingrained practices in Moving Memories, a set of playful, intuitive tools, that mimic familiar specific movements in cooking, stimulating the senses and encouraging curiosity.
Unlike real kitchen utensils, there is no wrong way to handle them. In a world that has become confusing and foreign for these patients, these movements are comforting in their familiarity.
Brard wants to give an autonomous pleasant and easy occupation that can release these patients from stress. The aesthetic of the objects respects the dignity of people with Alzheimer’s in the eye of their family.
For this project, she went several times to a nursing home (Eerdbrand Archipel in Eindhoven) where she could try her models with different patients. She noticed the enthusiasm and interest of people who have restless hands, a typical symptom of the disease. They would explore the tactility and characteristics of each object as well as trying to assemble them or organise them, stimulating movements and memories.
Cover photograph by Femke Rijerman.