Dementia Centred

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By Elizabeth Douglas

September 8th, 2016

Viewpoint on dementia design

Viewpoint in Edinburgh is Scotland’s oldest housing association.  Not only that but it is unique in that it has both care homes and sheltered housing.  The three care homes are located in Edinburgh and the housing within Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife.

During the last few years, in particular following the development of the Scottish Government’s first Dementia Strategy in 2010 and publication of the Promoting Excellence Framework in 2011, Viewpoint has focussed heavily on ensuring all employees, whether working in the kitchen or as a domestic or as a finance officer, receive some level of education about dementia.  Viewpoint has also produced two Dementia strategies, the current strategy focussing on activity from 2016 – 2020.

The following extract is taken from Viewpoint’s Dementia Strategy 2016 - 2020

"We will continue with our work on creating an enabling environment. We will audit the physical environment of our services using a validated “Dementia Friendly” checklist, and will create an action plan to remedy any deficits by December 2016. This may involve introducing new ideas about colour, furnishings, signage, way finding and installing new technologies such as “telehealth” to help people with dementia maintain their health and independence."

As well as this many dementia friendly environments have been created not only in the care homes, but also in two Dementia showflats that Viewpoint designed within its sheltered housing complexes. One such flat is located at the Croft n Righ sheltered housing complex at the foot of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. It features dementia friendly signage and cupboards to demonstrate how these can help with orientation for someone living with dementia. Some pictures from the showflat are featured below:


Our care homes also ensure that signage, design and colour schemes enable residents to live more easily. The picture below on the right is of a dining room table and chair in St Raphael’s care home. The chair is designed for stability and safety and the height of the table intentionally can accommodate a wheelchair. On the left are plates designed to assist residents with dementia at mealtimes. There is also a variety of colours to ensure that plates are visible and therefore stand out against the tablecloths.

Viewpoint will continue to work with Stirling University’s DSDC to ensure that current ideas and suggestions are incorporated where possible.

Elizabeth Douglas is the Learning and Development Manager at Viewpoint Housing Association


DSDC’s Design Schools include information on how to wayfind, good signage design and tips for reducing visual clutter. Join us at one of our design schools to learn more. 



DSDC’s Introduction to Dementia Design provides an introduction to design of continued care and hospital environments for people with dementia. Learn how simple, low cost changes to the environment can make a real difference in reducing agitation and distress.


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Categories: Design