Did you know, there are around 850,000 people in the UK who are suffering with dementia, and, according to the Alzheimer’s Society:There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025, and 2 million by 2051. 225,000 people will develop dementia this year, which is one every three minutes.
So, where will these people live, and how might they be cared for? Architecture and design has a significant role to play in the wellbeing, comfort and care for those who have Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia, to ensure that they can live full and happy lives despite their illness.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term for brain disorders that affect communication and performance of normal brain functions. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.
People with dementia have varying types and there’s 100 different forms. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type, affecting 62% of those who are diagnosed, but any one person can suffer with one or more type, at any one time: such as, Vascular dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Mixed dementia, Parkinson's disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Normal pressure hydrocephalus, Huntington's disease, and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.
Architecture for Dementia
Homes for dementia sufferers need to be well designed, and just as beautiful and stimulating as the homes we live in, and the ones they lived in before their diagnosis. Care home architecture must be able to cater to the patients’ life and happiness, and never cause them any unnecessary disability.
The Dementia Service Development Centre (DSDC) at Stirling University is working to create dementia friendly environments, and with their dementia design guidelines, their aim is for anyone who suffers with dementia to have the freedom and confidence to live as fully as they can. Friendly architecture, with stimulating and specialised dementia interior design makes an immeasurable difference.
The architecture should not be all about dementia, but all about people – and how the most thoughtful designs can enable what was thought to be impossible… Such as an Alzheimer’s village, a dementia community, rather than a nursing home. Village architecture such as this, can enable patients to feel as though they are still independently living and not being nursed upon in their rooms, which can feel both degrading and isolating.
Examples of Architecture for Dementia:
Hogeweyk, Alzheimer's Village
This dementia village in Holland is a nursing home that looks like a town, Hogeweyk dementia village is a place for residents to live as normal as possible: visit the grocery store, take strolls in the gardens, and even have a glass of wine. The focus of the staff at the Alzheimer village in Holland is to highlight what people living with dementia can do, rather than what they can’t.
Located in Weesp, Holland, the Dutch nursing home for Alzheimer’s has been designed to appear just like a village in the outside world, with 23 houses accommodating six to seven residents and a caregiver who ensures their safety and happiness – cooking, assisting them with shopping if needed, or taking them to social events. The social events range from bingo nights to theatre nights, and all 23 houses differ depending on the lifestyle category. Read more about this type of dementiaville here.
There are plans to replicate the Hogeweyk dementia village here in the UK. Alongside a development of 4,000 homes in Kent, there are plans to build a village in symmetry with the Netherlands Alzheimer's village – homes, shops and cafes – for patients to lead “normal” lives rather than a life dictated and prohibited by medication.
It’s also happening across the world:
Cupcake Day by the Alzheimer’s Society
Next week, 14th June 2018 we are hosting our very own Cupcake Day to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society.
would pay for a communication tool that uses symbols rather than words to help people with advanced dementia communicate.
would pay for one of our National Dementia Helpline Advisors to provide 10 hours of crucial support to people affected by dementia.
would pay for a Doctoral Training Centre to run for one day, helping up to eight PhD researchers to carry out ground breaking study in dementia research.
Design for dementia is also critical for improving the lives of those who are affected by Alzheimer’s and their loved ones. One day we hope that all nursing homes will be as forward thinking as the dutch village where everyone has dementia, but lives as if they were never touched by it.
It's easy to donate. Simply text: