Dementia Friendly Design at Home

Simple Changes You Can Make

  • Get rid of clutter
  • Improve the lighting
  • Reduce noise & create a relaxing atmosphere
  • Stay safe at home with assistive technology
  • Remove contrasting, shiny or reflective floors
  • Use contrasting colours for bed linen, handrails, toilet seats, crockery
  • Use signs for locating items in drawers and cupboards
  • Mirrors can cause confusion for some people

The needs of people with dementia change as the condition progresses and some simple adjustments to the home environment can make things easier for both the person and the people they live with. People with dementia can find it harder to learn new skills or adjust to new ways of doing things due to gradual memory loss or difficulty concentrating. It makes sense to introduce any new equipment or make changes to the home in the earlier stage of the illness as appropriate and in consultation with the person with dementia.  Dementia Friendly design is based on research evidence and is often now incorporated by architects and designers into new care homes and hospitals. 

The Dementia Services Development Centre in Stirling is a centre of excellence in this field and their Design and Technology Suite is a permanent display of interior rooms and equipment, exterior spaces and garden areas, showing how they can be adapted to support the particular spatial and sensory needs of people with dementia.  People with dementia, their carers, family and friends  can visit and undertake free self-conducted audio tours. 

Further Reading

The brief guide 10 Helpful Hints for Dementia Design at Home was produced for the general public and families and is available for purchase.

Also available for purchase: Designing interiors for People with Dementia.  Liz Fuggle, DSDC, 4th edition 2013