AHR MEDIA

DESIGN FOR DEMENTIA
HELEN REVITT


  • To coincide with Dementia Awareness Week 2017, Helen Revitt, Regional Director and health sector lead at AHR, gives her views on why 'design for dementia' is more important than ever.

    As a specialist in retirement and care home living, we are seeing more clients – particularly local authorities and councils – with specific requirements to accommodate service users with dementia.

    Significant improvements in quality of life for these residents can be achieved through a wide range of environmental and building designs.

    We have developed a variety of techniques to communicate complex concepts of building design, using simultaneous speech to text interpretation, signing, use of tactile maps and models, as well as carefully designed ‘easy read’ format presentations. Colour-coding is another strong visual aid which we have used to enhance the consultation process and implemented into designs.

    For people with dementia, long-term memory is commonly much stronger than short-term – so in practical terms we have looked at incorporating comforting and easily recognisable features. One example of this is the bright red phone and post boxes included in the design of Orchard Grove care home in Glasgow, which bring residents a reassurance that comes from familiarity and stimulation through memory.

    The potential benefits of outdoor spaces should not be underestimated either. Colourful and spacious gardens can encourage exercise, particularly through the creation of ‘wander paths’ with regular seating and rest points, along with wayfinding and marker features to aid orientation.

    At Orchard Grove our landscape design team introduced bowling and putting greens to help stimulate memory and prevent boredom, while also creating inclusive areas for friends, family and children to socialise with residents.

    By incorporating design innovations such as these into attractive and stimulating spaces, we can help to maximise independence, reinforce personal identity and enhance confidence for people with dementia.
  • AUTHOR
    AHR Communications Team
  • DATE POSTED
    19 MAY 17
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