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Cover story


On a return visit to an assisted living scheme we completed last year for a client in Kent, it was heartening to see a buzzing communal lounge where lamps were being used to support residents relaxing with their daily crossword, as well as completing a jigsaw. Considered choices are also vital when it comes to finishes in living environments for older people, ensuring they are safe, non-reflective and that adjacent flooring surfaces are as close in tone as possible, so as not to suggest a step and risk a resident falling. Elegant interiors can absolutely be achieved and still remain supportive. People with impaired vision need more light to see properly and colour contrast will provide real definition to their environment, enabling them to move around safely without fear of falls or walking into anything.


Colour contrast can, for some operators, conjure up images of bright primary colours and fly in the face of their vision for a tasteful care home interior. I get this and fully understand the concern. Yet colour contrast is about the difference in light reflectance of a surface so can still be achieved through a tasteful palette. Interior schemes can be both sophisticated and supportive of people living with sensory and cognitive decline. Whether it is a new build care home or a refurbishment, making the right choices with finishes, furniture and lighting will benefit residents instantly and pay dividends further down the line. Just before lockdown, we met with a client who wished to engage us to assist with a refurb of the home’s communal spaces. During our visit to the home, it was apparent some of the rooms had been upgraded recently and, while they looked attractive, the design was not inclusive since they had not sought the advice of a specialist dementia designer. The home is now having to go to the expense of refurbishing a number of the rooms, including replacing wall coverings, taking up flooring and installing new light fittings. Investing in the right advice at the start of a project will pay off. It is worth saying that making an environment inclusive and supportive does not equate to spending lots of money on the fit out. It is about making the right decisions, choosing the right finish, picking out the right colour and installing appropriate lighting. We have worked with both generous and tight budgets on new builds and are very used to being creative for a modestly financed refurbishment. Massive transformations can be achieved by changing wall colour alone.


Before


After


Before


These before and after shots from a care home refurbishment project we have been working on in Essex feature three communal rooms which were not being used to their full potential by residents and had become dumping grounds. While the home sits in beautiful grounds and offers wonderful care, these front-of-house areas did not reflect this. The refurbishment has provided residents with inviting, engaging spaces to spend time in with other residents as well as visiting relatives while setting the tone for the home the minute you walk through the door.


We work with single site homes as well as larger operators on both new build and refurbishment projects. Most of our clients engage us from concept through to fit out but for larger operators who wish to procure and coordinate installation themselves, we offer a design and specification only service. For clients who wish to do the work themselves yet are looking for guidance on best practice for dementia friendly


July 2020 • www.thecarehomeenvironment.com


After


design, we offer a consultancy service. We have often been asked into a home after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection to assist the client with upgrades to the environment. It was wonderful to receive this from Gary Curpen, owner of Barnham Manor care home, one of our clients on the south coast: “Project completed on Wednesday successfully and then at 8.50am on Friday the CQC inspectors were at the door.


“The inspectors were very impressed with the colour scheme and the new layout. Thank you very much. We are extremely happy with the excellent work that you have done for our home.” TCHE


Contact details


Telephone: 01444 440880 Website: www.homesmiths.co.uk LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/ in/homesmiths


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