Access Consulting

10 points to consider in dementia design

livable housing

Dementia friendly design not only promotes health and wellbeing for people living with dementia, but it enables caregivers (family, friends and aged care providers) to create environments that reduce adverse outcomes for people living with dementia.

Below are 10 points to consider when designing environments for people with dementia: research has shown that these points reduce agitation, confusion and wandering behaviours in people living with dementia whilst increasing positive outcomes in areas such as mobility, wayfinding and activities of daily living.

  1. Spaces should be domestic and home like with opportunities for ordinary day to day activities
    eg: cooking, washing, gardening
  2. Furnish personal spaces with familiar, homely furniture and communal spaces with domestic rather than commercial style furnishings
  3. Offer spaces where people can choose to be alone, or to socialise
    eg: reading nook, group sitting room
  4. Include unobtrusive and well placed safety features
    e.g: automated lighting, grab rails, non slip surfaces
  5. Offer a safe outdoor space with opportunity for interaction with the space
    eg: bench seat, small table, bird bath, gardening tools)
  6. Provide visual access with clear wayfinding
    eg: avoid long corridors that look the same, provide objects/clear signage to identify rooms and areas
  7. Minimise unnecessary stimulus
    eg: noise, visual clutter
  8. Ensure colour contrast between walls and doors/door frames to reduce confusion
  9. Community inclusion – design an environment to support people going out into the community
  10. Ensure design facilitates a useful, practical and interesting environment to ease the physical and emotional stress of daily work for staff

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