Designing homes with dementia in mind

Graphic showing the design process.
The design process

In most cases, designing homes with dementia in mind does not mean a special type of design.  It’s not news that people prefer to live at home as they age. So, universal design for dementia-friendly dwellings helps people live at home for as long as possible. However, for some people with dementia this can prove challenging for them and their family members.

Once basic accessibility features are considered, as they should be in all homes, it’s about the details. The research that underpins the guidelines for dementia friendly dwellings found four key design principles:

      1. Integrated into the neighbourhood
      2. Easy to approach, enter and move about in
      3. Easy to understand, use and manage
      4. Flexible, safe, cost effective and adaptable over time

Heading for the Dementia Design GuideThe Dementia Friendly Dwellings Guideline is from Ireland, but the good ideas are not country specific. The online resource produced by the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design is divided into separate downloadable sections: 

      1. Home location and approach
      2. Entering and moving around
      3. Spaces for living
      4. Elements and systems

The Dementia Friendly Dwellings Guidelines complement Universal Design Guidelines for Homes in Ireland and are intended as a first step in raising awareness. They provide a flexible framework for designers to apply the guidelines creatively to all new home types through incremental steps.