Sep 28

Designing For Cognitive Change


A new tool has been designed by a team of researchers at the University of Stirling to help support businesses, professionals and families to make public places, premises and homes more accessible and to meet the needs of an ageing population more successfully.

It focuses in particular on people living with dementia, combining the latest research on designing for cognitive change with the knowledge, skills and experience of the top architects at the university’s Dementia Services Development Centre.

The tool itself is made up of three tiers (with the third still currently in development), with each tier reflecting the level of necessary intervention. Entry level is Tier 1, aimed at those who want to make small adaptations or charges. Tier 2 focuses on a wider range of buildings, suitable for homes but also the likes of businesses, healthcare settings and so on.

Within each tier is a complete user guide, as well as assessment checklist, best practice examples and case studies.

Lesley Palmer, chief architect with the Dementia Services Development Centre, said: “Two-thirds of people with dementia in the UK live at home in their community and it is a requirement that supermarkets, pharmacies and other public places make reasonable adjustments to enable everyone to use their facilities.”

She went on to say that research has found that dementia design helps tup support independence and quality of life. Furthermore, it has also been found that age-friendly environments can encourage healthy and active ageing through the maintenance of cognitive capacities throughout our lives.

Similar resources are also available from The King’s Fund, specifically to help specialist housing providers, primary care premises, care homes and hospitals to become more dementia friendly.

Assessment tools and design principles have been developed to create more supportive car environments for those with dementia and other cognitive problems.


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