Provide a safe environment. It should be safe, secure and easy to move around
Provide optimum levels of stimulation.
Provide optimum lighting and contrast
Provide a non-institutional scale and environment
Support way-finding and navigation.
Provide access to nature and the outdoors
Promote engagement with friends, relatives and staff
Provide good visibility and visual access
Promote privacy, dignity and independence
Promote physical and meaningful activities
Support diet, nutrition and hydration
Principle 1: Provide a safe environment. It should be safe, secure and easy to move around
This is an over-arching principle that includes the following guidance:
- Use of slip-resistant, matt finished flooring with no patterns or shadows.
To those with dementia, highly-polished, shiny flooring can appear wet, causing uncertainty and confusion; instead, the flooring should be matt. We also recommend flooring that is sparkle-free and without a heavy pattern, as these can cause distraction or look like something to pick up, which could result in a fall. We have a wide range of plain, matt flooring options to help avoid this. See our product guide for more information.
- Orientation and way-finding cues to reduce the risk of getting lost and disoriented
- Design features that reduce infection risks
Our safety flooring contains Altro Easyclean technology, making cleaning easier and more effective. It is impervious, preventing water ingress and avoiding trapping bacteria and associated odours. In addition, Altro Whiterock hygienic wall cladding is impervious, stain-resistant and wipe-clean, giving dirt nowhere to hide and making cleaning straight-forward. Together, Altro Whiterock and Altro resilient flooring offer an integrated system ideal for areas where hygiene matters.
Principle 2: Provide optimum levels of stimulation
Excessive sensory deprivation can have a negative impact. It is however the case that multiple types and levels of stimulation can be difficult to deal with.
- Avoid over-patterned walls and general clutter
Using wall cladding such as Altro Fortis Titanium, which is available in a range of colours from Pearl to Cardinal red, helps create a homely, non-clinical look without the need for a pattern, plus it is durable and easy to clean.
Principle 3: Provide optimum lighting and contrast
- The HBN offers guidance on providing the correct levels of light for people facing dementia and age-related challenges
In our experience natural daylight is preferable as harsh lighting and some LED lights can create false impressions about the environment such as the perception that the flooring is wet when it isn’t, resulting in uncertainty and possibly falls. Choosing sparkle-free flooring helps avoid this; we offer a wide range of sparkle-free options across our product portfolio. Please speak to your Altro consultant if you need guidance.
Principle 4: Provide a non-institutional scale and environment
When long-term care or hospital care is required, therapeutic environments should be as un-institutional as possible. Areas to consider include:
- Avoid long corridors of institutional character
- Support daily activities and interior décor that support the function of a room.
An example could be using images of food, crockery and cutlery in Altro Whiterock Digiclad to highlight the dining room
- Support quality of life by introducing non-institutional interior design, decoration and art works.
Have a look at our Altro Whiterock Digiclad page to find out more.
- Dementia-friendly health and social care environments should include small scale, homely and welcoming lounges and day rooms to reduce over-stimulation
Using a wood-look floor, such as Altro Wood Safety, can create a warm, homely feel that stands apart from a clinical environment. Its 16 shades can combine with a variety of Altro Whiterock Satins shades for a complete solution.
Principle 5: Support orientation
Internal landmarks including artwork and items that give positive emotions while supporting orientation. These should be placed in a highly visible way, supported by light and colour contrast.
Principle 6: Support way-finding and navigation.
Impaired spatial orientation in people living with dementia is frequently reported. The reduced ability of people with dementia to reach desired destinations (way-finding) on a daily basis affects their personal autonomy and quality of life. Spatial orientation should thus be considered a basic psychological need.
- Avoid long corridors; monotony and uniform architectural composition create repetitive environments.
- Introduce noticeable landmarks that might have special meaning to users and can be used as reference points
Clever use of wall cladding or wall protection can ensure that corridors are not repetitive and can provide a contrast between wall and floor. Colour-coding and use of images on the wall can greatly help with way-finding and familiarity.
Principle 7: Provide access to nature and the outdoors
To encourage movement into outdoor areas, Altro doorsets are available in a range of colours to create a contrast with the wall so that the door is easy to find. The door could be faced with Altro Whiterock Digiclad, using images to help users recall that the exit leads outside.
Principle 8: Promote engagement with friends, relatives and staff
- Dementia-friendly environments should blend with existing buildings and not stand out as ‘special’ units.
- Spaces should enable residents and visitors to use internal and external environments. These should be attractive, comfortable and encourage visitors to spend time and engage in meaningful activities, such as gardening.
Using complementary, warm colours, particularly wood shades may help reduce the anxiety that a clinical environment can cause and create visual harmony with the rest of the building.
Principle 9: Provide good visibility and visual access
Help people with dementia make choices and find where they want to go, by making key places, such as a lounge, dining room, bedroom, kitchen and outdoor areas easily identifiable.
Principle 10: Promote privacy, dignity and independence
To help achieve this, considerations for dementia-friendly health and social care environments include
- Helping people maintain independence by using familiar building design, furniture, fittings and colours
Altro Whiterock Digiclad can be used to personalise spaces and demark areas to create familiarity
- Wet rooms that make bathing a safer and less intrusive activity
Altro Aquarius provides optimum lifetime sustained slip-resistance in wet and dry environments and whether a resident or staff member is wearing shoes or barefoot. Developed without a bobbled surface, it feels smoother to sensitive feet but its profile still feels reassuringly safe, helping to allay fears of slipping, plus it’s easier to clean.
- Activity areas for reminiscence which can improve mood and wellbeing, and promote social inclusion and the person as an individual with a unique life experience
Principle 11: Promote physical and meaningful activities
Have an interior design that is non-institutional and stimulates interaction.
Principle 12: Support diet, nutrition and hydration
Environments should include dining rooms with family-style layout and interior design.