Existing care homes should not be overlooked when it comes to dementia friendly design to enable inclusive spaces that promote healing and wellbeing.
Lauren Di Pietro, architect at DWA Architects, discusses incorporating the connection between heritage and healthcare into both new builds and existing homes and refurbishments.
“Physical access issues and adaptations are often discussed as the biggest challenges to existing buildings but the benefits of inclusive access to all buildings reach beyond removing the physical barriers and begin to provide huge benefits to our emotional wellbeing,” she says.
“There is a plethora of research into the connections between heritage and healthcare in the sense of museums and galleries creating experiences centred around memory and history and playing a transformational role in healthcare and wellbeing and how object handling can be used as a tool for care.”
Lauren adds: “This is also true of dementia friendly design in care homes and healthcare settings, in which wall art often depicts local or historical scenes bespoke to the setting of the building.
“These same principles and techniques, therefore, can be used through architecture where the building itself becomes the object with which to engage.”