Living with an ageing and increasingly cognitively impaired population is seen as an issue in both Japan and the UK. Between the two countries there are nearly 6 million people with dementia, with numbers rapidly increasing as the respective populations age. This situation is often considered negative and problematic, but an ageing population creates opportunities for creative and innovative solutions to meet the needs of older people with dementia. One such area is the design of the built environment.
Designing environments in ways which can maximise quality of life, social inclusion and participation is increasingly a research interest in both countries. Taking a perspective which maximises personal, societal capacity and participation, valuing the contribution of older people and people with dementia, is increasingly an emphasis in policy in both the UK and Japan, yet has still to be realised in practice and research.
Exploring this barrier in a cross-national context may expose cultural differences in how to engage older people and their support network in research.
Building on Stirling's record of work on designing environments for people with dementia and its initial extension to Japan, there is potential to develop cross-national and cross-cultural learning about ways in which to design environments for older people with dementia. The project aims to engage with communities and older people to work in a participative way in both countries and learn more about what really matters, and where evidence is most needed.
This activity will enable research to be developed which is co-produced, culturally sensitive and impact generating and learns lessons from experiences in both countries.
The project will see the formation of the Designing for Ageing and Dementia International Research Network. The University of Stirling is delighted to be hosting the first of the network’s meetings at the start of May. The network will also be attending DSDC’s highly anticipated International Masterclass on 14 + 15 May.