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New resources for dementia design and environments

Supporting Comfort and Belonging for People Living with Dementia: A Guide for Team Members to Enhance the Environment in Senior Living is a new publication from the Research Institute for Aging at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

The 22-page practical guide is aimed at supporting care staff to assess living environments for older people (all living environments, including residential settings, secured or unsecured living areas), and guiding them in how to create a sense of comfort and belonging for people living with dementia, particularly those who repeatedly try to leave the premises. According to the guide, people usually attempt to leave their environment because:

  • Walking, exploring and being curious are natural to humans.
  • Something in the environment is distressing them and they are trying to get away from it.
  • Something in the environment is missing and they are trying to find it.

The guide’s framework does not consider the above to be symptoms of dementia, but “expressions related to environmental, interpersonal and operational factors that do not meet someone’s needs”.

The resource covers sensory challenges due to ageing and dementia, physical environment, addressing unmet needs, and interpersonal and operational factors. It includes a range of prompts that can be used in conjunction with the resource, such as ‘Pause and reflect’ questions (with space to provide answers), practical exercises to undertake, and a draft action plan to complete.

Access the resource here: https://bit.ly/2ZLm07d

Dementia-friendly Hospital Buildings: Construction and Design Manual is the title of a new 128-page book, published by the German publisher, DOM Publishers.

Authors Kathrin Büter and Gesine Marquardt summarise research in this field before going on to present design principles as well as practical examples. The guide is aimed at all stakeholders involved in hospitals and promotes interdisciplinary planning processes.

The book is available from the publishers at https://dom-publishers.com/, and costs about $A60.

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