Dementia and allied disorders is a topic constantly in the news. It is the third leading cause of death (after heart disease and cancer) and is forecast to be the leading cause of death by 2050). Every 7 seconds, somewhere around the world, someone finds out that they have dementia. That equates to 4.6 million new diagnoses a year. In total an estimated 30 million people around the world live with dementia and the world-wide cost to governments is one per cent of GDP.
The project is divided into 3 main zones for different types of dementia residents. The severity of their cognitive impairment determines the zone in which they will be living; varying in proximity from the main dining hall. The main dining hall has long been acknowledged at the centre of any nursing home or dementia residence because the program’s nature which offers helpful stimuli and a sense of routine.
Every dementic resident seeks for a sense of dignity in spite of their health conditions. Hence, wayfinding elements and visual cues are essential to allow affordances for the residents in order to be independent. Each path leading to their rooms from the main dining hall is a single closed loop. Specific landscape feature is placed in the centre of each zone.
Residents will identify their own rooms based on the items placed on the exterior walls- the shelves. There are more than 9 different interior layouts for the rooms which facilitates different lifestyle and needs while allowing sufficient flexibility for staff’s administration.
“Enabling people to choose the way they live is giving them dignity”
-Social Care Institute for Excellence, UK
Each room layout is designed according to EAT guidelines. Beds are arranged to face the washroom doors, each washroom has a seat in the shower area and is wheelchair-accessible, contains a two-way wardrobe and a dirty linen box. Every room has a window to look into the enclosed gardens as well as the surrounding neighbourhood.
The National Research Program DEEP (Dementia Enabling Environments Project) listed a set of design principles known as guidelines, namely the Environmental Audit Tool (EAT).
These principles include:
-Planned wandering and landscape features
-Small social group size
-Eliminating unhelpful stimuli
-Wayfinding and helpful stimuli
-Spaces or private and community activities
-Links to community
-Safety and domestication
-Considering different and unique cultural values