Steve Maslin has a blog page with an interesting post about designing dementia friendly environments. He makes a good point when he says that, “the pursuit of inclusion is as much about informing and enabling those who are unawares – as it is about including people with particular needs.” This helps “the unawares” to take the issues seriously, particularly designers. The engagement process is paramount to success. He explains for key areas:
- Sensory, social and spatial characteristics of an environment
- Orientation (in time and space) within an environment
- Safeguarding within an environment
- Neurological and psychological aspects of physical and sensory interactions
Anecdotally, some people find highly reflective floors look wet and slippery; locked doorways are distressing – so if a door leads only to a store then don’t draw attention to it; and audible and visual fire alarms can be un-conducive to safety during emergencies. Dappled light and shadows causing stripes are confusing, and black mats at doorways look like a hole in the ground.