Enabling environments for dementia

A older man and woman are smiling at each other. The man is handing the woman a yellow tulip. Creating environments for dementia.Staying home has taken on a new meaning, and for some, a priority, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But what if the design of the home environment isn’t helping, especially if you have dementia? Alzheimer’s WA has a great website with really practical information on houses and apartments. But we need to create all environments for dementia.

Of course, staying home also means staying in the community. So the neighbourhood and facilities need to be dementia-friendly too. The website also has this covered. There are sections on, Public buildings, GardensHospitals, and Care environments.

Each section takes you to a floor plan with interactive buttons. Each button takes you to an illustration of a room or space, again with buttons for more information. For example, a click on a floor plan kitchen takes you to an illustration of a kitchen. Within this illustration are buttons checking off each of the design principles, such as lighting and cooking. There are PDF lists for download as well.

This website is a comprehensive virtual information centre for living with dementia. It’s useful for family members and designers alike. Some elements might be something as simple as rearranging things so they can be seen. Others might need more design know-how. A great resource. 

There’s also a Dementia Friendly Home app and a virtual experience by Dementia Australia. 

Image courtesy Alzheimer’s WA.

Dementia-friendly neighbourhoods

Dementia-friendly neighbourhoods is a growing area of transdisciplinary research. But there are challenges and gaps that limit the depth of knowledge which need further research. An article from the University of Michigan outlines the issues for the built and social environments. 

Neighbourhoods are multi-sensory – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Technological advances support things like wayfinding and memory in navigating environments. 

The authors discuss the need for participatory methods to identify areas of need and to prioritise neighbourhood issue. 

The title of the article is, Dementia-friendly neighbourhoods, Methodological challenges and research opportunities. It’s an in depth look at the issues from an academic perspective. 


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