How to design a more dementia-friendly home or assisted living environment

This post presents a range of resources on how to design or modify home and assisted living environments to be more dementia-friendly. Many of the resources in today’s post are books.

Remember, you are welcome to visit us in the library to take a look at these books and articles.  We can also send them out to you if that is not possible. At the end of this post, there are links to the web form you can use to request books or articles that are of interest – but remember, you must be a member of Alzheimer’s Australia VIC :-).

Dementia design for the home

10-Helpful-Hints-Dementia-Design-Home-MediumBook: 10 helpful hints for dementia design at home: Practical design solutions for carers living at home with someone who has dementia

This book focuses on practical design tips which may result in greater independence for people with dementia living in their home. Many ideas included in this book are low or no cost.  The book’s introduction sums its purpose up nicely:

‘People with dementia and those who live with and care for them have a lot to contend with. However, some everyday problems are actually unnecessary. This book is intended as a practical guide to making things easier through making adjustments in your home or wherever a person with dementia is living, or being cared for. (p.3)’

Book and website: Adapting Your Home: Supporting people in their home environment

Adapting your homeThis Alzheimer’s Australia publication and accompanying website has a multitude of helpful suggestions on how to transform your home so that it better supports and enables someone who has dementia. Making changes to the home can result in significant changes in well-being, health and independence for a person with dementia.

This resource includes information on personal considerations, improving lighting, specific detail on changes to different rooms to enhance their utility for a person with dementia, garden design and participation, other useful resources and a checklist for conducting a home audit.

Design for assisted living settings

Book: ArchitArchitetecture for an_webecture for an Ageing Population

This compilation of more than 30 outstanding projects in the areas of assisted living, continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes represents the best current work designed by architects for the ever-increasing population of the ageing and elderly. Each project is presented with photographs, detailed plans and statistics, illuminating the high level of research, planning and community involvement that goes into these advancements in living environments for seniors.

designing interiors for people with dementiaBook: Designing interiors for people with dementia, Richard Pollock

The interiors of buildings can be designed to compensate for the disabilities arising from dementia, including impaired memory, especially recent memory; impaired learning; impaired reasoning; high levels of stress; increasing dependence on the senses, yet often impaired visual perception.  If we provide the right environment, we can help people to remain as independent as they can be.  This book focuses primarily on fixtures and fittings in the context of interior design.

DesigningMentalHealthUnitsBook: Designing mental health units for older people, Mary Marshall

People with dementia who are admitted to older people’s mental health units are usually acutely distressed. They need an environment which is calm, quiet, understandable and safe. Dementia-friendly design is a non-pharmaceutical intervention in itself. It also provides the optimal setting for the full range of interventions that people with dementia in older people’s mental health units will receive. It is almost cost neutral and simply requires a real understanding of the impairments that old age and dementia bring, and which are especially complex when combined.

AAA_NovDec14Article: Bad buildings and challenging behaviours, Colm Cunningham and Rebecca Forbes, Australian Ageing Agenda, November – December 2014

When good design features are missing it’s much more likely that people with dementia will display excess BPSD as a result of the confusion and frustration caused by their environment.

EBDjournalJournal: Evidence Based Design, Journal 1: Aged Care: Evidence-based strategies for the design of aged-care environments

This free, PDF-based journal focuses it’s first issue on design of aged care facilities. Over 1,190 research publications were reviewed, with only those articles most relevant to the design process selected.
Issue 01 of the EBD journal is essential reading for anyone developing a new aged care facility, or remodelling an existing one. Containing globally relevant, detailed case studies, evidence based design strategies, and articles about future trends, the Aged Care Issue of EBD Journal will assist you with brief development, design and facility management.

 Other environmental considerations

hearing, sound and the acoustic environmentBook: Hearing, sound and the acoustic environment for people with dementia, Maria McManus and Clifford McClenaghan

This book is one of a series published by Hammond Press to assist providers, architects, commissioners and managers to improve the design of buildings which are used by people with dementia. The quality of the acoustic environment is a vital component of good dementia-friendly design. People need to be able to hear well in order to make sense of it and in order to function at the highest level possible. It is essential that adaptations which simplify and clarify the acoustic environment, and which reduce discomfort and auditory ‘clutter’ are put in place. Good acoustics can actively contribute to ensuring that a person with dementia can communicate and remain included within the community within which they live, be that a care home, supported housing scheme or hospital care.

lightandlightingdesignBook: Light and lighting design for people with dementia, David McNair, Colm Cunningham, Richard Pollock, Brain McGuire

This book is allso from the series published by the Hammond Press to assist providers, architects, commissioners and managers to improve the design of buildings which are used by people with dementia. It provides guidance on appropriate lighting design for environments used by people with dementia and is relevant for new-builds, refurbishments and alterations to residential buildings. The visual sense can act as a critical tool, allowing the person with dementia to make sense of their environment and maximise their remaining abilities. As a result, good lighting design can enable a person with dementia to experience more independence, have more of a choice and thus retain more dignity.

AJDCdec13jan14Article: The importance of colour in dementia design, Debbie de Fiddes, Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol. 2 No. 6, December 2013/January 2014

In the first of a series of articles explaining the connection between colour and lighting and the impact thoughtful design can have on the living environment for people with dementia, Debbie de Fiddes explains why colour is so important.

AJDC_AprMay2014Article: The power of colour, Debbie de Fiddes, Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol. 3 No. 2, April/May 2014

In the second article about the impact of thoughtful design on the living environment for people with dementia, Debbie de Fiddes continues to explore the role of colour and explains how it can be used as a therapeutic tool.

Interested in an article or book?

You can request books or articles here. Remember, you do need to be a member of Alzheimer’s Australia VIC!  Find out more about joining here.

 

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