Understanding the personal abilities and unique challenges faced by aging individuals, especially those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, better equips design teams to create supportive living spaces. Devising goals that target single symptoms and objectives is not always practical, however, because changes associated with aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias tend to appear in “clusters” rather than in isolation. The design-based evidence associated with designing supportive memory care settings results in 12 programmatic design strategies.
1. Enable interaction between those with and without dementia.
2. Facilitate contact and engagement with the surrounding community.
3. Reduce the perceived size and number of occupants per care/living area.
4. Design intuitive room configurations, adjacencies, privacy, and affordances.
5. Capitalize on local amenities, venues, and services.
6. Offer visual and physical access to natural features.
7. Emphasize a residential ambiance, character, and décor.
8. Facilitate access to commonly used accouterments, equipment, and tools.
9. Regulate the presence, absence, and/or control of contextual stimulation.
10. Maximize involvement in meal planning, preparation, service, and atmosphere.
11. Optimize bathing location, configuration, fixtures, décor, products, and storage.
12. Design bedrooms for comfort, privacy, and personalization.
For more information, see the Design for Memory Care Settings Issue Brief, which includes a more comprehensive overview of these design strategies.