In the past designs specified as being suitable for dementia were often very sterile or used a mix of primary colours which put together would not have been out of place in a nursery school – not the look for a homely environment you would want for your residents to relax in and enjoy.
Over the past few years furniture, fabric and sign manufacturers have become very savvy of the need to make their ranges more dementia-friendly and you will increasingly find collections available which are at least in part, if not all, designed with dementia in mind to minimise confusion and anxiety. The main principles they have followed are:-
- Introducing a variety of textures
- Using appropriate colours including tonals to add contrast and interest
- Avoiding confusing patterns and stripes
- Collections include a wide range of plains and semi-plains which can be mixed and matched
- Increased infection control
- Reminiscence designs
- Removing sharp corners
- Adding upstands so that items cannot be lost behind chests and bedside units
- Offering dementia ranges with open sections where next day’s clothes can be hung ready if a client wakes up and wants to dress early, avoiding glass or polycarbonate panels which can be confusing
- Scoop drawers so the contents are visible
- Mirrors with folding doors so these can be closed if the user is adverse to mirrors
- Laminated boards which are easy to clean
- Memory boxes
- Using high pressure laminates to minimise damage
- Providing longer arms with easy grip ends to help residents rise easily
- Retro designs to evoke memories of the 50s, 60s and 70s – a time in an individual’s life when they will often fondly think back to.
- Making signage easy to read with distinct background colours and clear fonts
- Offering a wide selection of signs that are both visual and textual.
When put together, along with a wide selection of artwork, games, books and sensory equipment all designed with dementia in mind, we now have a wide choice in decor and facilities to ensure we can provide a comfortable and stimulating environment for
As there are various forms of dementia, and many stages within each, whilst generic principles generally may still apply, each individual will have particular needs which hopefully can be accommodated from the above.
Written by Eda Brooks, Director, Access 21 Interiors (020 8399 3091) www.access21interiors.co.uk