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DESIGN FOR AN AGEING POPULATION


A view from the ground floor bedroom, showing good sightlines through the house and to nature beyond, clear access to the bathroom, and a half-height dado wall, allowing views to kitchen area.


perceptual problems, and mobility issues, increasing the risk of falls. She said: “In a large cohort study we undertook we discovered that the more physically active people are, the more we can reduce their risk of dementia in later life; in fact we can potentially halve it.” Part of the Professor’s team’s research, working with service- users, saw team members compare the benefits of ‘normal yoga stretching’ with use of resistance bands which individuals could use as a form of exercise and mobility while doing other activities, such as sitting watching television. The researchers – who harnessed special sensors – discovered that those using the resistance bands and associated strength exercises improved their memory function over a six-week period.


Equipment that users would favour Eef Hogervorst added: “We have also worked very closely with people with dementia to get equipment, items, and technology, that such individuals will actually favour using, into the Living with Dementia Home; it is all evidence-based. We have taken account too of the enhanced fall risks for those with dementia – often precipitated by issues such as changes in visual acuity. For example, there are no loose rugs or shiny floors, which people living with dementia often perceive as being wet, and can cause them to move


The upper floor has a large bedroom with wet room, an area for tea-making, and a separate bedroom for a live-in care worker, and will feature large wheelchair lift access to the ground floor.


tentatively, and affect their balance and gait, resulting in falls.”


The researchers also considered the impact that excess noise can have on those with dementia, sometimes making them agitated and causing challenging behaviour. “We have striven to address this wherever possible,” Eef Hogervorst explained. “For example, the home’s washing machine is hidden away in a sound insulated cupboard.” She continued: “If you have been to an old people’s home recently, you will have noticed that they are often hot and stuffy, which can make the residents feel drowsy, dehydrated, and sometimes a bit confused. Professor Malcolm Cook, from the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering at Loughborough University, designed the house to ensure comfortable temperatures and adequate ventilation, using a natural buoyancy-driven system, which sees actuators from SE Controls automatically open the windows, providing fresh air for the occupants when required.” The ventilation and heating system are monitored and controlled by Atamate’s Smart Building system.


The indoor environment


The house also features underfloor heating, while to reduce glare and overheating, shading – which will help maintain comfortable internal temperatures, – will be


fitted to the windows. As the project team puts it, ‘The house helps people to live as comfortably as possible, but in a cost- effective, energy-efficient way.’ Eef Hogervorst explained that the team had also worked with Human Factors and Design. She said: “We harnessed co- designing a great deal, working with people living with dementia; just because somebody has dementia, doesn’t mean they cease being a person; people have their personal likes and dislikes. The personas we have developed have helped us to a more general view of the difficulties some people with particular stages of dementia will experience, and how design can act on these to be more or less helpful. “All the things we have done in the Chris and Sally House are evidence-based. The service-providers, designers, architects, and people with dementia we have collaborated with, helped us develop the personas, and their experience of good, average, and bad days, shown in the videos. The videos are displayed on screens in the Chris & Sally’s House, and are also available via the BRE and Loughborough University websites to help designers get an understanding of what it’s like to design a house for somebody with a particular stage of dementia. We think evidence-based building design can really help promote independence in people with dementia.”


The ground floor wet room, with easy ‘Jack and Jill’ access from the living area and the ground floor bedroom.


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The kitchen, and views through to the lounge area. APRIL 2019 | THE NETWORK


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