In Scotland, equally innovative architecture and design has been applied in the Rosemount Gardens Development in Bathgate. Representatives from West Lothian Council approached architects at Nicoll Russell Studios to design a Dementia Friendly Housing- with-Care Development. Getting the right location was a key priority as it needed to be welcoming to the wider community as well as being easily accessible for older people living in other developments nearby. Rosemount Gardens fitted these criteria.
Once the site had been prepared, construction of the 30 housing units commenced in an L shaped formation with defined street edges converging into a central atrium which promoted clear orientation and navigation, essential for people with dementia. The apartments were designed in the style of typical Scottish tenement design to avoid the appearance of a care facility. Indeed, this was a feature of designing dementia accommodation, ‘trying to steer the environment away from a dementia focus’ where subtly was key. Each flat had an open plan kitchen, a visible WC from the bedroom and installation of a telecare system as many of the adaptations. Social interaction was positively encouraged with a busy café and restaurant for all tenants, staff and visitors to mingle, thus avoiding any feelings of isolation and a much greater community feel. Much care and attention has been devoted to the grounds as well with the design of ‘wander routes’, ‘raised planter beds’ and drying greens to encourage outside activities and meeting opportunities.
A great success
Feedback to the scheme has been very positive with many of the residents simply ‘overjoyed’ at the much-improved quality of life. It represents the much greater awareness of making homes as accessible as possible with the concept of Lifetime Housing to address the inaccessibility and inconvenience of homes to large sections of the population.
The Alzheimer’s Society goes as far as producing a 36-page pdf document which gives extremely valuable information for adapting a residential unit.
Applying such simple measures will indeed make like a lot more tolerable. As Tara Reed quotes from her book ‘What to do between the tears.’
‘...While no one can change the outcome of dementia or Alzheimer’s, with the right support you can change the journey...’
BSRIA is delighted to showcase its commitment to improving accessibility to buildings via its Disaibility Legislation traing course.