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By Henriette Laidlaw

June 12th, 2017

DSDC hosts international masterclass on design for dementia and ageing

International experts in the design of environments for people with dementia have gathered at the University of Stirling to attend a masterclass hosted by the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC).

A range of leaders in the fields of design and ageing presented on the latest developments in the sector, exchanging knowledge on how to help the world’s growing ageing population live independently for longer.

This expertise feeds into DSDC’s ongoing research, including investigations into how to improve experiences for people with dementia admitted to a general hospital, the role that neighbourhoods play in the lives of people with dementia, and what constitutes a ‘good life’ in later years.

Practical experience

Participants shared practical experience on how design for dementia and ageing can dramatically improve people’s quality of life.

Professor Emma Reynish, Chair in Dementia Research at the University of Stirling’s DSDC, said: “This masterclass brings together internationally-recognised experts in designing for people with dementia and the ageing population. There are currently around 50 million people estimated to be living with dementia around the world, and this figure is expected to double in 20 years. It’s essential that we collaborate to improve quality of life throughout the later years.

“This masterclass reinforces our commitment to improving the lives of people with dementia through innovative, multidisciplinary research, continued cutting edge development and the promotion of best practice in design for dementia. Today’s event has reinforced our awareness of the international appetite to continue developing our leading work in this area.”

Speakers included Anna Buchanan, Director of Life Changes Trust's People Affected by Dementia Programme and Kanoko Oishi, CEO of Mediva Inc. in Japan. DSDC is set to award an accreditation for excellence in design for dementia care, to a nursing home designed and built by Mediva Inc. and the Tokyu Land Corporation, in Japan later this summer.

As part of a trip funded by the Dementia Services Development Trust, Adhilakshmi Kannan, head nurse of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation in Chennai also presented on developments in dementia care in India.

DSDC Chief Architect Lesley Palmer and Director Stephen Brooks of Space Architects used the masterclass as an opportunity to announce the launch of a new dementia design app – the first of its kind in the world – which will allow people to input information about their environment.

The app will provide recommendations, backed up by the University of Stirling’s research, on how to make simple improvements to enhance the room for the needs of an ageing person, and in particular for a person living with dementia. It will also link to construction industry design software, guiding architects and designers on best practice dementia design principles.

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