How personalising interiors improves the lives of people with dementia

In this age of innovation, so often involving technology, it’s important to look back at what has already been established as a simple, good practice, and yet, is too often forgotten.

Since the early 1980s, numerous “design guides” in the form of books and articles have offered planning, architectural, and interior design recommendations to instruct architects and care providers on how to enhance safety, create a sense of home and personalisation in dementia care facilities.

Our report, "How Personalising Interiors Improves the Lives of People with Dementia", shares key empirical insights around personalising interiors from the last 35 years. Whilst the ideas in this report are simple and intuitive, they are not necessarily easy to do well. This report is useful for anyone interested in bringing to fruition ideas that help improve quality of life for people with dementia. Anyone involved in long term care will benefit from reading this report, including policy makers and ombudspeople, management, medical, care, recreational and therapeutic staff.

Alongside safety, the message is to ensure you create familiar, easy to navigate spaces in order for them to be dementia friendly. The reports outlines how in the 1980s the idea of including the elders' perspective was introduced. It then goes on to show how in the 1990's research highlighted the importance of feeling at home and in the 2000s we saw the emergence of choice and control as key themes. In the chapter ' The elders' eye view' we illustrate the case with creative and well applied examples from around the world. The final chapter describes how our own initiative True Doors are a valuable tool for person centred care.

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