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Designing for people with dementia

With each passing year, we become more and more successful at prolonging the human lifespan. However, the older we become, the greater the chances are of getting a dementia related disease. And that puts architects and designers for some new challenges.

Jægersborghave, Denmark, Gentofte, 5.000 m2 Sonar X + Mono Acoustic E, Entasis, MOE A/S, FK Ejendomme, HHM, Nibe Fotograferne, White, Mono, E-Mono-edge, 1800 x 1200 x 30, Rockfon System Mono Acoustic

5 things to know

There has been substantial research highlighting the influence that the built environment has on our physiological and psychological well-being. This impact is especially true for people living with dementia, as they are more likely to respond on a sensory level

That’s why, when building spaces that are friendly for people living with dementia, there are some important things to deal with.

  1. Design a simple floor plan that is easy to navigate
  2. Use light and uniform coloured flooring
  3. Provide ample access to daylight
  4. Pay attention to sound absorption
  5. Design for wandering

The general principles are that people with dementia must feel at home and at ease in their living environment. So, go for a small and familiar, safe and secure design. Provide good visual ques and avoid over stimulating residents. Be open and build for social interactions. And: create a homely environment (recognition is key). These are the main guiding principles in o.a. the Environmental Audit Tool (EAT), developed by an Australian team of experts.

Reduce unnecessary agitation 

One of the governing philosophies, when designing for people with dementia, is the ability to manage unnecessary stimulation, which also includes the acoustic environment of a space. When sound waves hit the hard surfaces in a room, the noise is reflected back into the space instead of being absorbed. This causes the overall sound pressure levels in the room to rise. 

To create a balanced acoustic environment, noise levels need to be properly managed. By considering the acoustic environment from the beginning of the project, a developer can better manage the project construction and the overall project costs. 

At Rockfon we can advise you on how to create optimal acoustic conditions for any space, like environments suited for people with dementia.

Need help on how to optimize acoustic conditions in nursing homes or other assisted living facilities for people with dementia?
Contact us for more information and inspiration