Home Design Issues for people with dementia
There are many causes of dementia and it affects different people in different ways. Also, some people may have good physical health while others might be experiencing the effects of ageing.
Designing a home to support people with onset of dementia raises a number of issues, ranging from entrance doors to corridors, stairs and lifts. For people living with dementia and their family or carers, entering, exiting and moving around an apartment building or house is critical to their independence, well-being and safety. When designing or adapting a dwelling it is important to consider the complete circulation route as a continuum; oftentimes it takes only one design failure or barrier to prevent a person from reaching their destination.
The Universal Design (UD) measures presented in the UDHI Guidelines provide an overall framework for dementia friendly dwellings but there are a few additional key dementia friendly design issues that will enhance the UD approach and help provide clear, legible and easily understood circulation
routes to support people living with dementia.
In the context of entering, exiting and moving around consider the following key
Participatory Design: will identify circulation features such as front doors, or internal door handles that suit the residents needs or are familiar to the person
Familiar Design: in line with the above, will provide recognisable design features related to circulation. This may involve readily identifiable locks, handrails or similar that can be understood by the person with dementia.
Personalisation: provide opportunities for people to personalise key areas along circulation routes to make these spaces more familiar and recognisable.
Easy to Interpret and Calm: will make circulation routes easier to understand and reduce any distractions which may impinge on navigation and orientation.