As designers, researchers, care deliverers, care receivers, and people living with dementia we have come to understand that good design for people living with dementia entails respecting their dignity, autonomy, independence, equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. In pursuit of these goals we value:
- Designs that consider the needs of the whole person over those that focus solely on a person’s dementia
- Projects that prioritise enabling people living with dementia to remain in their communities and families over isolated residential and care settings
- Designs that maximise intergenerational interactions over those that provide only for elderly people
- Projects that are authentically co-designed with people living with dementia over projects that only use experts as proxies
- Designs that focus on the strengths and abilities of people living with dementia over those that only focus on compensating for functional decline
- Designs that accentuate the freedom of people living with dementia to make informed decisions about the risks they wish to take over those that are based on a third-party definition of acceptable risk.
These values are supported when design and planning respond to the following evidence-based principles
- Begin each project by developing a vision for a dignified way of life for people living with dementia.
- Where safety measures are agreed to be appropriate, design them to be as unobtrusive as possible.
- Design the environment with a human scale to maximise manageability and comprehensibility.
- Plan the environment to make it easy for people to see and move where they want to go.
- Minimise unhelpful stimulation.
- Optimise helpful stimulation.
- Design the environment to integrate internal and external places that stimulate engagement and enable a person living with dementia to move from place to place.
- Design all components of the environment to be as familiar as possible.
- Afford people opportunities to choose to be alone or with various size groups of people.
- Provide easy access and connection to and from local communities.