Have you ever been lost in a large university, hospital or government building? Once you become disoriented, there is a feeling of embarrassment and helplessness. So, imagine how it feels when seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s are moved from their familiar homes or apartments to a larger senior community that doesn’t make sense to them.

Leslie Saul Senior Living Apartment

Cohen Florence Levine Estates, Chelsea, MA.
Leslie Saul & Associates in association with DiMella Shaffer.

It can be an overwhelming transition, which is why those who work on senior facility design are beginning to focus on dementia-friendly design. Dementia-friendly design softens the transition to senior care facilities.

Here are some of the things architects and designers should consider when designing spaces for seniors with dementia.

  1. Simple and straightforward designs. Those with dementia have a more difficult time interpreting the world around them. Simple and straightforward designs will be more soothing and allow the residents to remain independent for longer.
  2. Support their interests and activities. While the symptoms and progression of the disease is similar, the person moving through the stages of dementia is an individual with their own interests and hobbies. Supporting these as much as possible helps the residents to be themselves, rather than just a disease.
  3. Respect of privacy. Create spaces that allow residents to spend time by themselves, so they can enjoy privacy while remaining safe and secure. This includes bathroom and bath/shower spaces when possible.
  4. A safe and secure environment. Senior living communities should be designed with safety and security at the forefront of the design. This includes hazard- and fall-proof spaces with excellent lighting and minimal glare.

Have ideas for a senior living community with a dementia-friendly design? Contact Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors.