Points to Consider for Dementia Design
Sense of Function
Include items that clearly identify the use of the space. For example, a fireplace in a lounge area. A hairdressing chair in a hair salon. Open plan spaces that flow from one to another are better than closed in rooms.
Keep all communal areas as free as possible of unnecessary furniture and other items. Use the layout to create small well defined seating groups and a homely atmosphere.
Single Floor Finish
Changes in flooring finish can create the impression of a step that can lead to falls. If a change in surface type is essential make sure they blend tonally.
Shiny flooring can look as if it is wet and cause instability with people walking over it.
Make sure curtains and window coverings do not cover the glazed areas of windows. Use multiple sources of artificial light to avoid glare. Make sure that areas for working or reading are well lit.
Reduce Noise Impact
Large spaces can become very loud, which can be distressing for people with dementia. Use flooring, curtains and soft furnishings that help to reduce noise and echo. Break big spaces up into small more intimate ones by using low level screens or planters.
As well as making sure there is variance in the LRV of major surfaces as required by the DDA, make sure furniture contrasts against its background so it can be clearly identified.
Use of Patterns
Large bold patterns especially geometric ones, can cause confusion. Use softer more gentle patterns for curtain and upholstery. Larger patterns and changes in texture are useful on accessories such as scatter cushions.
Using artwork that reflects the local area can help to provide a sense of belonging and a talking point. Make sure art is in a frame and clearly identifiable as a picture. Large full height murals can cause confusion.
Keep signs to a minimum and use architectural features and landmarks and part of this strategy. Use a consistent design with a recognised typeface throughout.
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