With an estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2020, the burgeoning demand for dementia-capable services continues to challenge the senior care industry, particularly in created sensitive and therapeutic environments. The 2020 Environments for Aging Virtual Conference addressed this topic with the webinar, The Memory Care Design Challenge: Design Criteria That Score Winning Outcomes for Individuals, Groups, and Staff.
Co-presented by Lorraine Hiatt, environmental gerontologist, and Cecily (CC) Andrews, president of Quantum Age Collaborative, the session reported how researchers are looking beyond pharmaceuticals to tap into what people can and cannot do, despite various combinations of memory and physical changes. Design initiatives greatly benefit older adults with more responsive settings that increase movement, mitigate mood disorders/stress, and improve attention span. Layouts and equipment should also match care and service roles without conveying the institutional dependency of the past.