Two projects in the EQUAL programme explore aspects of the influence of building design on the quality of life of people with dementia. Design in Caring Environments (DICE) examined the quality of life of people in residential care homes in relation to building design features. INDEPENDENT (Investigating Enabling Environments for People with Dementia) is a current project with the aim of developing technologies to enhance quality of life by supporting enjoyable activities. One aspect of INDEPENDENT is an exploration of the interaction between spatial settings and meaningful activity, to highlight factors that support and enable activity and to identify barriers. Findings from both projects suggest that a more creative approach to the management of buildings would enhance the well-being of residents; under-use of facilities is common. Meaningful space that supports activity is therapeutic but spaces that give confused messages are common in buildings used by older people. Tools to evaluate buildings have a potential role in the long-term management of facilities to help identify underused spaces, spatial confusion and barriers to activity. Quality of life was shown to be poorer in buildings that prioritise safety and health; buildings that support activity positively by providing good assistive devices, giving people control of their environment and affording good links with the community have a positive association with well-being.
Quality in Ageing and Older Adults – Pier Professional
Published: Mar 1, 2006