Guide to aid dementia facility designers

A new guide has been produced to help designers and architects create the best possible interior environment for dementia sufferers.

The guide, Designing Alzheimer’s Facilities, has been produced by flooring experts Tarkett working in collaboration with recognised specialists in various related fields from across Europe.

It gives an overview to understanding the condition and provides ideas to consider when planning interior spaces for use by those affected, such as hospitals and care homes.

John Devine, UK Sales Director for Tarkett said: “Dementia, and in particular Alzheimer’s disease, has become a public health policy priority for a large number of European countries.

“Given current projections, it will be a major challenge to develop specialised facilities fitted with the appropriate interior design and flooring for people suffering from the effects of the disorder.

“While suitable medical treatment may be central to the quality of care, a comfortable environment is also closely linked to the well-being of those with the condition.”

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It has long been known that a stimulating environment is best for people and, as a medical environment experts, Tarkett has recognised the contribution its specific expertise can make.

The guide is essential as the need for facilities grows. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, by 2030, 65.7million people are likely to be suffering with Alzheimer’s or Alzheimer’s related problems.

Professor Schricker, vice-president of the Union of German Architects and Designers, was one of the experts who helped Tarkett produce the guide and drew attention to the use of sensory and functional design in medical environments.

Professor Schricker said: “The aesthetics of floors enter into an emotional relationship with people.

“Identification and curiosity are life prolonging and activating factors for ill people living in a healing environment. Floor design can help people slow down, to concentrate, to orientate themselves, to have fun or to move more freely.”

Using the correct flooring helps people with dementia recognise a particular environment and the activity that takes place there, as well as areas to avoid.

The guide suggests the different flooring and lighting to use in different areas to aid memory and calm patients.

In total six typical areas that shape the smooth running of an Alzheimer’s facility and the orientation of patients through the facility are identified and analysed.

As well as flooring, the guide covers lighting and room layout in communal, reception, walkways and treatment areas and is the first in a series of guides produced by Tarkett to aid professional designers and architects.

Professor Schricker said:”Tarkett’s design team shows how intentionally choosing specific flooring can change the influence of the interior space for people.

“In the sensitive area of providing care for people suffering from Alzheimer’s, flooring can have a remarkable psychological and social effect.”

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