Dementia Friendly Interior Design
With over 150 different types of dementia, designing environments which cater for the varying needs of each individual can be a challenge. We are trained in dementia friendly interior design and understand how applying the key design principles can make an enormous difference to the comfort, health and well-being of residents and consequently support the care team. Jacqui has completed the Stirling University Dementia Design course as well as a two day course with Dementia Centre / Hammond Care and keeps up to date with other University research.
People with dementia want to feel calm, safe from falls and protected from infection. They want to be able to navigate the home with safety and ease and to be able to see as well as possible. Those living with dementia need to be encouraged to eat well and crucially be able to sleep well at night. The built environment can have a massive impact on how a person with dementia feels. Great design can transform a bland and unfriendly space into a home which supports people with cognitive and sensory decline. Intelligently thought through lighting cannot just make spaces safer but support people’s circadian rhythm, encouraging better sleep patterns. Acoustically optimised homes can lessen noise and promote the right sounds thus minimising stress.
Jacqui is the chair person of our local Dementia Action Alliance in Haywards Heath and part of the steering group. In support of building a dementia friendly town, Haywards Heath Town Council are working with The Orchards Shopping Centre and Sussex Housing and Care to develop “Safe Havens” to help people with memory loss and dementia feel safe in their communities. The Town Hall is already a Safe Haven and the HHDAA is working together to offer more in the town. The HHDAA also works closely with charities such as Know Dementia who run Memory Moments Cafes on certain days at both Haywards Heath Town Hall and St Richards Church.
We called in HomeSmiths to design our soon to be opened Dementia unit and they provided us with an excellent service. We gave them a brief stipulation of the kind of environment we wanted to create and they came back to us with a superb bespoke design. They decided to theme it around famous local people – actors, cooks, and singers – and tied it all into the musical name of the unit. The result is a unit with a peaceful atmosphere with iconic photos and art that helps to stimulate our residents and aid in their memory recall. The tactile displays they installed are works of art in themselves: collages that depict different scenes whilst being a mix of vibrant colours and various fabrics. Furthermore, they were efficient and a pleasure to work with both on and off site. We are extremely impressed with HomeSmiths and would recommend them to anyone that could make use of their services.
Praise where praise is due. For me this starts with the actual relationship we have formed with Jacqui and David. It has been built on their complete understanding of what we set out to achieve in terms of the feel and concept that we offer to our residents and their families. Our moto is “providing quality care”, and the interiors had to reflect this, both in terms of aesthetics, and functionality. They also had to have the ability to attract the level of resident we aspired to, and Jacqui was very quick to grasp what I wanted. The whole HomeSmiths team have always acted professionally, been courteous and humorous. Jacqui and David were always full of ideas, over a long and indeed quite stressful year (because projects of this size always are). All of this without anyone being overly protective of the design, showing what good team players they are; this was very important to me. Having worked with a few designers, there is always a point where there is potential for a clash, however this never happened with HomeSmiths. Indeed I felt they worked hand in hand with our design team throughout. We could simply not have asked for more in terms of forming a relationship, one that we hope will lead onto more projects. In terms of Jacqui’s expertise, she took on board the issues with dementia, poor eyesight, mobility etc. and in all things she understood our needs and those of our residents. To this end we have received no end of compliments from families, residents and many professionals. As the owner I could not be more satisfied. Please accept this as my personal thanks for the time, effort and pure professionalism shown on The Lindsay.