Styling for Dementia

Styling a care home or retirement living project is really important but not all projects assign the budget to do it, or if they do, the budget can shrink as unforeseen build costs swallow it up at the expense of the finishing touches.  Well chosen, relatable and engaging art and accessories can make the world of difference to an environment and the experience of those living in it.  For people living with a degree of sensory loss or cognitive decline, well considered styling is especially important.

We recently completed a small dementia wing refurbishment project in Pinner.  It was an unusual refurbishment in that the existing interior was brand new but just not suitable for residents living with dementia and this was holding up the opening of that particular wing. The art which had been fitted was bland and the accessories they had, generic and in some cases inappropriately fragile. Researching the local area of Pinner provided us with plenty of material for engaging art and styling. Mrs Beeton was a gift of a subject for the reminiscence theme in the kitchen/diner.  Framed old recipes books, vintage tins, traditional bakeware and vintage crockery supported the Beeton-esque styling together with more art in the form of large format cookery book illustrations showing traditional puddings and platters.  In the corridor we had (local boys) Elton John and Tony Hatch albums from the 1970s, framed and vintage photographs of other local celebrities including Ronnie Barker.  As a nod to the traditional Pinner Fair, and to trigger memories, we hung some bunting in the main lounge.  Made to match the colour scheme, the bunting was tactile and fitted low on the wall so that residents in wheelchairs could reach it.