Dementia and urban design

An older man and woman sit on a wooden slatted park bench. The man is holding a blue umbrella to shade from the sun. There is another empty bench next to them. They are sitting alongside the path and there are trees behind them.The incidence of dementia is predicted to increase as the global population ages. Many people with dementia are able to live independently for several years before they need constant care and support. Studies are showing that the design of the built environment is influential in supporting people with dementia to maintain their sense of well-being and independence. In Improving the lives of people with dementia through urban design, Barbara Pani presents four brief case studies: a gated community, a dementia-friendly city, intergenerational housing, and health services at a neighbourhood level in a social housing estate. The article provides technical information and in the conclusion raises several points. Retrofitting existing buildings could be better than massive redevelopment; consideration of people with dementia could also be good for the wellbeing of people with mental health issues, and the importance of developing social spaces at the neighbourhood level. 

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