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Better designs for residents with dementia

2 April 2019

MercyCare has embraced specialist design guidelines specifically to improve the home environment for residents with dementia when upgrading and refurbishing its residential aged care facilities across Perth.

MercyCare has embraced specialist design guidelines specifically to improve the home environment for residents with dementia when upgrading and refurbishing its residential aged care facilities across Perth.

MercyCare CEO Anthony Smith said it was important that modern aged care facilities meet the needs of residents and their families by keeping up to date with contemporary expectations and the innovations of technology and understanding, particularly in dementia design.

“Consideration of dementia design is essential. Many residents will have some form of cognitive impairment, age related impairments in vision, hearing, mobility and balance.”

“We embraced the guidelines developed by Dementia Australia to encompass the needs of residents, with the understanding that each facility is not only their community, but their home. The emphasis needs to be placed on wellbeing and creating an environment that fosters engagement and connection.”

MercyCare’s projects team and the interior designers and architects they work with, recently undertook a virtual reality training workshop with Dementia Australia. The workshop introduced what dementia is and the different symptoms people can experience. The practical and real-life examples gave a deeper understanding to allow for better design consideration that will benefit dementia residents to live more confidently.

MercyCare Project Director Adam Roebuck said his team worked closely with developers and interior designers to learn what positive impact the built environment can have for those with dementia and what can be done with external consultants on design best practice facilities.

“As ‘property people’ passionate about creating environments that allow people to be the best they can be in care, this workshop has reinforced years of training and research in this space. We want to have a lasting positive impact on current and future residents at our aged care facilities. Knowing how different parts of the brain are affected by dementia allows the design team to adapt living environments to better support residents,” Mr Roebuck said.

“We have additionally embraced the principles of placemaking, creating flexible spaces allowing carers and family to create a sense of place to mark an event or creativity, enhancing engagement for residents.  We’ve also used technology for virtual reality experiences, projections and other public spaces for solitude so that residents can enjoy quiet places.”

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