Design for dementia
Design is more than shaping the physical environment to help counter the impairments which come with dementia. It involves addressing practices and behaviour of professional staff and changing the way people with dementia are engaged with in the environments in which they live.
Age-related changes and impairments can make it more difficult to understand and navigate the built environment. These can be sensory, mobility or cognitive impairments, and sometimes a combination, which can affect functioning, behaviour, independence, and ultimately, quality of life. Understanding such impairments is the first step towards creating living environments which support the needs of older people and those with dementia, keeping them safe from dangers such as falls, which can have a devastating effect on an older person; allowing the freedom and confidence to use their abilities to the fullest extent, in all things from the mundane to the creative; aiding memory in day-to-day living; and reinforcing personal identity.
What delivers dementia-friendly design:
- Addressing physical issues such lighting, colour contrast, signage, textures and sensory stimulation are not enough on their own
- Technology and adaptations, many of them inexpensive, can have a positive impact
- Using the arts as an integral part of design can offer lasting benefits for people with dementia
- Improving the care environment has a direct link to improved care standards and an enhanced reputation for the care home.
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