DSDC's Dr Martin Quirke will be presenting at this year's Alzheimer Europe Conference, which is taking place online. Martin will presenting on Housing for Cognitive Health: A Pilot Study in Co-Design using Virtual Reality, of which you can read the abstract below.
The use of virtual reality (VR) in the field of dementia and ageing has mainly been limited to experimental therapeutic interventions. However, the capability of VR to enable full-scale immersive experiences of architectural design proposals, in combination other digitally enabled design communication methods, provides the opportunity for underrepresented groups, such as older people (50+) and those living with dementia, to become active participants in the architectural design process.
Good quality, cognitively supportive, housing design is an important determinant of health and well-being for people living with dementia and their care partners. Yet the availability of age-friendly housing that can support healthy cognitive ageing is very limited. In the United Kingdom, where this research took place, the majority of housing is constructed by large commercial development companies. As a result, new housing focusses almost exclusively on provision for families and younger professionals, broadly ignoring the needs of a rapidly ageing society.
This paper discusses findings from a pilot research project, undertaken during lockdown restrictions in the UK, to explore the potential role of VR in the co-design of age and dementia friendly house types. This includes key methodological considerations in the use of VR and other technologies to facilitate co-design involving a geographically dispersed cohort of older people (50+) as well as the potential opportunities and challenges in using this methodology as a means of involving this under-represented group, in both research and architectural design. We conclude the session with some examples of the design recommendations resulting from the research, that could help address housing needs and preferences of older people living with dementia.
To register for the conference, please visit Alzheimer Europe.