Download the PDF file of multilingual version book.

Multilingual version of "Words for a Journey" (April, 2017, PDF)

Words for a Journey – The Art of Being with Dementia

 Iba Laboratory, Keio University x Dementia Friendly Japan Initiative

A pattern language for living well with Dementia

 The Iba Laboratory of Keio University, Japan, just released a pattern language, Words for a Journey – The Art of Being with Dementia, which collects knowledge on how to live well when you or a family member is diagnosed with dementia. Advice is given each for the pers-on diagnosed with dementia, the patient's family members, and for the people in society in general on how to accept and to live well with the disease. This project is the result of collaborative work between associate professor Takashi Iba and the students at the Iba Laboratory with corporate members of the Dementia Friendly Japan Initiative including Center for Global Communications at International University of Japan (GLOCOM), Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., KOKUYO S&T Co., Ltd., and Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.. This organization challenges the problems associated with dementia as a team that extends beyond just medical and welfare studies. The aim for this project is to spread and share the positive and practical wisdom of the people who live with the disease, so those who are newly met with dementia can learn and be encouraged from them. Also, the project hopes to start a society - wide dialogue about Dementia.


Words for a Journey – The Art of Being with Dementia

 Words for a Journey – The Art of Being with Dementia collects practical knowledge on living with dementia. Though many hold negative impressions of the disease, there are still many who are living well with dementia. They have not given up everything in their life just because they have the disease. The book collects wisdom and stories from such people, and extracts its essence to be shared widely. More specifically, the information in the book is formatted into small pieces of hints. Each hint describes a “context” that people with dementia and the people around experience, and a “problem” that is commonly associated with the situation. Following this, a “solution” on how to cope with the problem is described. By reading the information, current problems can be worked to be solved, and any potential risks of future problems can also be reduced. 


Words for Sharing Ideas

 As a distinctive feature of the book, each positive and practical piece of wisdom has been given an original name. For example, a hint that says to “create a place where the person with dementia can visit on their own, which the family also knows about” is titled “Favorite Place,” and another that says to “make the cared person’s room reflect them by filling it with the things that tell stories of moments from their life” is given the name “Self-Reflecting Room.” This is one of the merits of pattern languages - by making an original word for each piece of knowledge, people can use the new words their everyday life to talk about, share, and use the ideas of other people.


Recapturing Dementia as "A New Journey"

 It is a fact that a person will have make some big changes in their lifestyle once diagnosed with dementia. However, these big changes can be thought of as a start of a new journey - a journey to live well with dementia. By spending longer times as a family for caregiving, members of the caregiving family will be able to get to know about the cared person better. The time to come is not a time to lose, but a time to gain even more. How the family spends this time is completely up to them. The book recaptures this change in the family as "A New Journey," and the words that describe the wisdom of living well with dementia are called "Words of a Journey."

Enabling Collaboration among Different Stakeholders

 The words in this book is categorized into three groups - "WORDS FOR THE CARED" or words for the person with dementia, "WORDS FOR THE CARING" or words for the patient's family, and "WORDS FOR EVERYONE" or words for people in the society in general. Each group contains words that provide problems and solutions for the person in the corresponding group.
 A reader can start by reading words from their own group, but then can go ahead and read the words from other groups as well. They should be able to take a peek at the problems and hopes that people in the other groups might be holding. This way, all three parties can support each other to live well with dementia. By using the "Words for a Journey," people among the different groups can share their wisdom to face the disease.

The Format of the Words for a Journey - Pattern Language

 Pattern Language is an idea proposed by architect Christopher Alexander for scribing out people's knowledge. Alexander found repeatedly seen relationships between objects in a beautiful towns and buildings, and decided to call them "patterns". He suggested collecting these patterns into one collection so it would become a "language" to be shared among people, so that everyone can join in on the building process of houses and towns. This organized format of writing out the context, problem, and solution of practical knowledge is used in many fields - its largest being software design - to enhance the creativity of people. 

 Takashi Iba, associate professor at Keio University, is the pioneer in applying the method to creative human actions, and is now leading many studies and practice in and out of Japan. His works include the Learning Patterns, a pattern language for creative learning, the Presentation Patterns, a pattern language for giving creative presentations, the Collaboration Patterns, a pattern language for creative collaborations, the Generative Beauty Patterns, a pattern language for living beautifully and lively, and the Survival Language, a pattern language for preparing for and surviving large earthquakes. The Presentation Patterns has also an extended version published, which the book was nominated the Good Design Award in 2013.


"Building a Dementia-Friendly Society" - a dialogue session

Date: Tuesday, November 4, 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Place: Fujitsu Design HAB-YU platform
    Roppongi ARK Hills South Tower 31st floor, room 311, Roppongi 1-4-5, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, Japan. 106-0032.
Please register at 

G8 Dementia Summit Japan Event (Exhibition Booth)

Date: Wednesday, November 5, 9:30AM - 5:30PM
   Thursday, November 6, 9:30AM - 5:30PM
Place: Roppongi Academyhills (conference room 7)
    Roppongi Hills Mori Building 49F, Roppongi 6-10-1, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, Japan. 106-6149.

Dialogue Workshop using the “Words for a Journey”

Date: Sunday, November 16, 2:00PM - 4:30PM
Place: Center for Global Communications, International University of Japan (GLOCOM)
    Roppongi 6-15-21, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, 106-0032.

Iba Laboratory Workshop Space at SFC Open Research Forum (ORF) 2014

Date: Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22
Place: Tokyo Midtown Hall (Midtown East B1F)
    Akasaka 9-7-1, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, Japan. 107-0052.

Contact Us

“Words for a Journey” Project, Iba Laboratory, Keio University.
Office of Research Development and Sponsored Projects, Keio University
ADDRESS: Endo 5322, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan. 252-0882
TEL: 0466-49-3436 / FAX: 0466-49-3594 / E-mail: kri-pr[@]

“Words for a Journey” Project