Design Solutions for Supportive Dementia Environments

Upcoming Round Table 18/09/2024 Royal Institute of British Architects, London

The UK’s population is ageing rapidly, with the proportion of people aged over 65 continuing to steadily rise in recent years. This means that the number of people with dementia needing appropriate accommodation will be rising too, and it’s forecast that the UK will have double the amount of citizens living with the condition by 2051 (over 2 million people).

How can architects design future care homes using the learnings of previous decades, and new procurement approaches, to try and ensure they balance comfort, care and homeliness, with safety and inclusivity so that they don’t feel overly different from normal care facilities? When is interaction with other residents too integrated, and potentially damaging, and how much independence can people have? Are there useful standard design models or is each case and context different, how much do architects have to work with care providers and contractors to ensure the right result is achieved, and what is the prognosis for meticulous design focus and the best-case design for residents, in a private and public sector hybrid context?

And in short, what are the key design best practices when it comes to helping people have greater quality of life when dementia becomes a fundamental part of their existence, and where are the areas of controversy to resolve? Our round table will bring together designers, providers and product manufacturers to look in-depth at this increasingly relevant part of healthcare design. We will discuss the materials, environments and design approaches, as well as areas like harnessing IT, which have revealed success and helped support people with dignity and agency in this very challenging part of life. We will also explore external space and landscaping design issues.

We will present examples and refer to recent research including findings on how design can actually affect the progress of the disease, and share knowledge from key practitioners in the sector.

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