Articles

Dementia and Design

Over the summer of 2022, Harris Irwin Directors Mike Irwin and Ian Holme held a series of staff seminars looking at dementia and suitable design responses.

These built upon decades of practical experience delivering projects for many of the  major operators within the care sector, plus knowledge gained from external experts including the University of Stirling.

Mike focused on the condition itself and its effect on the individual and their families, whilst Ian provided an overview of typical and appropriate design responses.

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Hybrid Model

The diagram shows one of the concepts of this 64-bedroom home, The central portion of the building acts as a shared ‘street mall’ with facilities primarily serving the households, but also serving the residents of the surrounding community.

This concept illustrates the importance of helping the residents maintain as much independence as possible. Each household will be entirely self-contained with its own front door opening onto a managed semi-public ‘street’.

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Household Care Model

Substituting institutional design for smaller, typically domestic forms can create a more familiar setting which fosters a stronger sense of homeliness and encourages independence. This sense of normality, supported by the functionality of a specialist care home, provides residents with a home which can reduce levels of anxiety, confusion and distress, while providing high levels of support to suit resident’s needs.

Typically, a standard model of care provides large care groups ranging from ten to twenty bedrooms. While benefiting from efficiencies of scale and staffing, these groups risk feeling institutional and can feel a world away from the daily life new residents enjoyed before their care needs required them to move into a dedicated care environment.

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Examining Hogeweyk

In the future, care homes should become community hubs where they reach the people in their own home. Rather than just being an in-house service-oriented organisation, the expertise within care homes should be used to educate the public or unpaid carers how to care for an older/sick person within the community.

In the future, care homes should become community hubs where they reach the people in their own home. Rather than just being an in-house service-oriented organisation, the expertise within care homes should be used to educate the public or unpaid carers how to care for an older/sick person within the community.

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(more…)