A Walk Down Memory Lane

Our Favourite Design Solutions for Dementia-Friendly Homes

When it comes to Aged Care Design, there is a real science to creating spaces that feel like home and respond to the specific needs of residents suffering from cognitive impairments, such as dementia.

Having designed the interiors of many Australian Aged Care facilities over the past 25 years, we’ve witnessed the positive impact that purposeful Interior Design can have on the lives of residents.

From encouraging socialisation, to creating a calming ambience and reducing incidents, evidence-based design offers a multitude of benefits for residents, which, as a result, also ease the day-to-day of care staff and visiting family members.

Here’s a selection of our favourite design solutions that exemplify such benefits.

1. Wayfinding Solutions

Wayfinding design utilises visual and tactile cues such as symbols, colours, textures and typography to effectively navigate people through a space and help them reach a destination.

Especially important in Aged Care facilities, where residents often suffer from memory impairment, wayfinding is one of the most important aspects of our work as specialised Aged Care Interior Designers.

Backed by studies that show that vivid colour cues can help to enhance the short term memory of people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, our selection of contrasting, bright colours and textures at Dudley Foord House was all about assisting dementia residents navigate to their rooms.

Different colours and tactile patterns were selected and applied to the doors of each room; enabling easy recognition and navigation.

2. Memory Boxes as a Design Feature

Studies show that the use of memory boxes in Aged Care homes not only benefits residents, by creating a comforting sense of familiarity in their new (and often unknown) home; but it can also improve the quality of care received from staff, as memory boxes easily introduce staff members to the life, likes and dislikes of residents.

As well as prompting conversations, improving moods and residents’ wellbeing, memory boxes, when used as an Interior Design feature, also make room identification clear and simple.

3. Recreating Familiar Spaces

As explained in the Designing for People with Dementia guide by Dementia Training Australia, a person with dementia is more likely (and able) to use and enjoy places and objects that are familiar to them.

Dementia-friendly environments should always afford residents the opportunity to maintain their independence through the use of familiar building design, furniture, fittings and colours. In addition, the personal backgrounds of the residents should also be incorporated and reflected in the environment for greater wellbeing.

We achieved that – and more – at The Village by Scalabrini, by replicating a neighbourhood environment that respected and celebrated the resident’s Italian heritage.

Inspired by an Italian forum, the ‘village piazza’ was designed to be a dynamic, vibrant meeting place, sympathetic to the needs of the residents. We contributed to the design inclusions through the chapel, hairdresser, trattoria and café – all equipped to also ensure resident safety.

4. Colours that Evoke Happiness

Our most important consideration when designing Aged Care Homes is to create spaces that perfectly balance a homely, positive feel with the sophistication of a modern care facility.

It is no secret that the correct use of colour plays a crucial in achieving that balance, as colours have a significant impact on residents’ psychology and overall well-being.

When the client approached us to design the interiors for Bill’s Place, their main objective was to create a setting that was inviting and uplifting for residents, staff and visitors.

To achieve that, we employed a palette of bright and jovial colours that are known to provide a sense of relaxation. These colours were complemented by vibrant pieces of wall artwork.

At Gilmore Interior Design, we’re committed to revolutionising interior design for Aged Care homes. Contact us today to discuss your next project.

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