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Designing a “Think-Along Dwelling” for People with Dementia: A Co-Creation Project Between Health Care and the Building Services Sector

Originally Published:
Key Point Summary
Key Point Summary Author(s):
Zborowsky, Terri
Key Concepts/Context
Many of the elderly prefer to age-in-place. However, if one of the elderly developments dementia, particular challenges may be posed when designing, constructing, or retrofitting an existing home environment. In the Netherlands about two-thirds of the people with dementia live at home. This is the setting for this study.
The purpose of this paper is to report on the design process of a demonstration aging-in-place home for people with dementia.  
Methods used to gather information about the environmental needs were a literature review and focus groups with experts in the field of dementia and housing for older adults. Two focus groups were held, one with 12 participants and one with six participants.
Design Implications
This paper is rich with design recommendations that appear to have application beyond the home environment. The authors detail design recommendations for every room in the house. One of the most unique features of the house is the open-plan living room. Occupants can observe all parts of the dwelling from almost all positions in the home and thus can watch each other. The wide sliding doors in the center of the home can be easily operated and allow a view of the toilet from the living room.
This design incorporates modifications in terms of architecture, interior design, the indoor environment, and technological solutions. The authors present detailed room-by-room information about all the design features in the paper.
The study takes place in the Netherlands, and it is unclear what, if any, cultural or regulatory standards might impact the design decisions made. Most of the design elements suggested have not been empirically tested.
Design Category
Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E)|Interior Material|Lighting (artificial and natural)|Room configuration and layout
Non-healthcare settings|Other healthcare facilities
Outcome Category
Patient health outcomes|Patient satisfaction and comfort
Environmental Condition Category
Patient Satisfaction and Comfort
Key Point Summary Author(s):
Zborowsky, Terri
Primary Author
Van Hoof, J., Blom, M. M., Post, H. N. A., & Bastein, W. L