Who are we working for?

We all know the importance of getting the right solution for the right people to make sure they’re safe. This can be as simple as choosing the right specialist safety flooring to prevent slips in risky areas like a kitchen. Sometime though, it’s more complicated.

The number of people with dementia in the UK has reached 850,000 and it’s suggested that, assuming no public health intervention, this number will be over 2 million by 2051. We know that dementia affects memory but symptoms also have an impact on visual perception. Choosing surroundings that won’t exacerbate these symptoms, and play a role in alleviating them, makes a huge difference to living well with dementia. The ever-growing number of people affected means that installations should be designed with this in mind. We’ve done a lot of work in this area and are members of the Dementia Action Alliance. In short, we can help.

When developing new shades for Altro Suprema and Altro Aquarius, we worked with the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) and architect Liz Fuggle. Liz highlighted some of the visual problems some people with dementia have. Some of these can also affect the aging eye. They include

  • Less ability to discriminate textures
  • Shiny surfaces appearing wet
  • Patterned surfaces causing illusions
  • Dark surfaces and shadows appearing to be holes
  • Less ability to see depth and contrast
  • Difficulty identifying and describing different objects
  • Difficulty seeing in 3D - rooms appearing flat
  • Images from television appearing to be in the room

So, how do we avoid making these symptoms worse and create somewhere that feels safe when specifying appropriate flooring and wall cladding? We’re happy to talk through any project or query you have but we have also developed some straight-forward guidelines, including a colour and product-selector chart, which you can find here.

You can also download our brochure creating communities for all; designing for dementia and older people.

We’ve summarised this information so that you can see our suggestions for best practice at a glance. This fits with the recommendations outlined in the Department of Health's Health Building Note 08-02, Dementia-friendly Health and Social Care Environments. Just visit the dementia section of our website for more information on any of these areas, or give us a call.

  • Use slip-resistant flooring
  • Use sparkle-free flooring
  • Always choose flooring with a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of ≥36, which offers a one in a million chance of slipping for the lifetime of the flooring.
  • In wet environments, avoid overly textured flooring that could hurt sensitive bare feet
  • Avoid steps or the misperception of steps due to reflection or patterns in general areas that those with dementia may negotiate alone
  • Use flooring and wall solutions to create a calm, welcoming, homely appearance
  • Use art and wall cladding to aid familiarity and help with way-finding as well as make people feel welcome, offering a pleasant and enjoyable stay
  • Ensure the colours of walls, doors, floors and ceilings contrast to demark them unless trying to conceal an entrance, for example, to a service corridor or kitchen
  • Ensure the Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of walls, flooring and any other critical surfaces, differs by at least 30 points
  • Consider few colours in one area to avoid creating confusing surroundings
  • Consider a hygienic, impervious system such as Altro Aquarius and Altro Whiterock Satins for wet environments, or Altro Stronghold 30 and Altro Whiterock White or Altro Whiterock Satins for kitchens
Posted: 24/02/2016 15:34:12 by Chris Edwards-Thorne | with 0 comments