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. Common experiences are:
- impaired rational thinking and problem solving
- difficulty with short term memory
- problems learning new things
- fear and anxiety and increased sensitivity to the environment
The Universal Design Guidelines for Dementia Friendly Dwellings published by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland provides several key points to cover in design:
- Participatory design
- Familiar design
- An environment that is easy to interpret and is calm
- Safe and accessible outdoor spaces
- Distinct spaces
- Unobtrusive safety measures and technology
- Good visual access.
The Guidelines are comprehensive covering many situations with drawings and illustrations to help designers either build from new or modify an existing dwelling.