DEEP Newsletter 10 - 2014

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The Dementia Enabling Environments Project (DEEP) is about translating research on dementia design into practice. The DEEP is an Alzheimer's Australia WA initiative.

We have gathered together the best dementia design experts from across Australia, and every month this e-newsletter will provide you with evidence based advice on creating beautiful and enabling homes for people with dementia.

DEEP utilises a set of evidence based design principles which will provide architects, designers, landscapers, aged care providers and families with very practical information and advice on how to improve the environment.
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In this issue of the DEEP e-newsletter we address the 10th principle ‘Respond to a vision for a way of life’.

Principle 10: 'Respond to a vision for way of life’

Person centred care is about responding to the needs of the individual. The environment should support the person living with dementia to lead a life that has meaning and value to them. 

Creating spaces that people respond to:
When designing for people living with dementia it is important to create an environment that they respond to and is meaningful to them. 

A good example of this is the Eden Alternative, a model for residential aged care which focuses on creating spaces that foster companionship, an opportunity to give meaningful care to other living things, variety and spontaneity. 

General considerations:
  • A very important first step is to find out what is important to the person/people who will use the environment. What are their histories, their values, likes and dislike?
  • Foster an inter-generational environment. Invite school groups into your care home and create a play area for when grandchildren or play groups visit. 
  • Plan an outdoor space for keeping animals or birds, or organise a time for animals to visit. 
  • Give people control over their environment. Involve them in renovation decisions and encourage them to personalise their spaces.

Groups and individuals:

Whether it is your own home or a communal environment such as a residential care centre or day centres it is important to create a space that people respond to. Some points to consider are:
  • What is the history, life and culture of the people living with dementia who use the space?  Do they share common cultural, social values or similar lifestyle preference or beliefs? 
  • Some care environments have been set up to cater to a specific lifestyle, social or cultural background. The Hogeweyk dementia village in the Netherlands is a good example. Find out more
  • The space can be made to cater for the values of the group in general. For example having a barbeque is likely to be a familiar and fun activity to many people who have lived in Australia.  
  • The space can also cater to individual preferences: For example: Mr Jones loves cars and used to be a mechanic. Having a care engine out in the back garden to tinker with promotes a meaningful way for him to maintain his skills and to continue doing something that he enjoys and is familiar with. 
  • Small changes in the environment can go a long way: Choose artwork, fabric, decor and objects that have meaning and positive associations for the people living there. Creating a mosaic or artwork together can be a good opportunity for engagement and reminiscence and the outcome is a piece of artwork that would be meaningful to everyone.  

The Hogeweyk dementia village utilises a promising model of dementia design:
A long term specialist dementia residential village in the Netherlands utilises a household model built around a neighbourhood approach. 
Find out more 

The Green House® Project celebrates 10 years
GreenHouse® Project celebrates 10 years: The landmark Green House® Project celebrates 10 years of culture change that transforms the way long term aged care is provided. 
Find out more 

'Adapting your Home' book: This book provides information and practical ideas for making your home more enabling for the person living with dementia.
Buy | Find out more

'Enabling the Home Environment and Using Assistive Technology' WorkshopAttend this workshop specially designed for family carers and learn how a carefully designed environment can support independence at home through design and assistive technology.
Register | Find out more

Supporting your clients using an enabling home environment:
This three hour workshop will provide community staff working with people with dementia with useful information on how to easily adapt home environments to support a person living with dementia.
Register | Find out more 

Read more 


Dementia Enabling Environments Project (DEEP)

Alzheimer's Australia WA, in partnership with the NSW Dementia Training Study Centre at the University of Wollongong, have been funded by the National Quality Dementia Care Initiative to develop a national project focusing on translating research into practice in the area of enabling environments for people with dementia. The National Quality Dementia Care Initiative funded by The Wicking Trust and BUPA is administered by Alzheimer's Australia.

DEEP                               Email :
Postal address       
PO Box 1509
Subiaco WA 6904            National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

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