Going for Dementia Gold

Leanne Owen
Our team recently attended the Dementia Design Schools, increasing our awareness of designing for dementia care.

Dementia affects around 800,000 people in the UK and poses an increasing challenge to care and extra care providers. Rising to this challenge, 2013 has seen a further three members of Faithful+Gould’s Leeds Housing and Care team attend the Dementia Design Schools in Birmingham and Stirling. The three day courses run by the University of Stirling have increased our awareness of designing for dementia care.

As employer’s agents, project managers and quantity surveyors, our team was trained on the use of the University’s Dementia Design Audit Tool and the requirements to achieve their gold, silver and bronze awards for dementia design.

The knowledge gained on this course continues to build on Leeds’ Housing and Care team’s expertise in dementia design and now allows us to provide further assistance to clients:

  • Helping clients to understand best practice in dementia design.

  • Advising on how simple changes in the environment can help improve the quality of life for people living with dementia, without increasing costs.

The knowledge gained on this course continues to build on Leeds' Housing and Care team’s expertise in dementia design and now allows us to provide further assistance to clients.

The courses also considered the impact of ageing on vision. Our staff (as pictured) undertook a practical experience wearing 'vaseline spectacles' designed to show the daily challenges caused by thickened lens and deteriorating vision. These principles are key not only for those living with dementia, but can also be beneficial for all residents in a care or extra care home.

Sue and Leanne in Vaseline Glasses

Following successful completion of the Dementia Schools, the Leeds team are working with national care providers’ dementia specialists to consider exemplar design solutions for both internal, and external environments.

Building on our previous research, we are working with clients to promote and encourage the use of best practice affordable principles in design, including these key areas:

  1. Layout and services: Design to recognise that supposed symptoms of dementia displayed by residents in less than perfect environments can be alleviated or minimised by adopting best practice ‘design for dementia’ principles, especially good way-finding for areas of concern for residents with dementia including WCs.

  2. Interior design: Macular degeneration may mean that three dimensional visual acuity is lost. This can result in contrasting floor finishes being seen as steps or pools of light being seen as holes in the floor. Careful consideration of design, window placement, finishes selection and services design can avoid these easy pitfalls.

  3. Gardens: The external environment is important for healthy living. Current designs therefore incorporate large lounges and restaurants which visually link with gardens through glazing and provision of external access.

Faithful+Gould regularly provides presentations on dementia in the care and extra care environment. If you would like to arrange or attend one of these presentations please contact us.

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