Page 1

Designing and Retrofitting for Dementia Friendly Dwellings through the Universal Design Approach How can the Universal Design approach be used to plan, design, or retrofit dwellings so that they support people with dementia, their families and carers, and help people with dementia to live in their communities and at home for as long as possible? Context: This project will result in a new set of guidelines -

Authors: Tom Grey1, Maria Pierce2, 3, Suzanne Cahill3,4 and Mark Dyer1

Universal Design Guidelines: Dementia Friendly Dwellings for People with Dementia, their Families and Carers - which will support the forthcoming Universal Design Homes for Ireland (UDHI) Guidelines 1.

Background: In Ireland it is estimated that around 30,000 people with dementia live at home. Our ageing population means that these numbers are expected to double by 2031 2. It is therefore imperative that housing is designed to be dementia friendly in order to promote the well-being and independence of people with dementia, and take account of the needs of their families and carers.

TrinityHaus, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) 2 School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University 3 Living with Dementia Programme, School of Social Work &Social Policy, TCD 4 Dementia Services, Information and Development Centre, St James’s Hospital, Dublin 1

Participatory design

Familiar Design

For people with dementia however, independent living can be challenging due to certain symptoms such as: • • • •

di�iculty with remembering things and with new learning impaired reasoning, judgement and problem-solving increasing dependence on the senses increased anxiety and stress

In addition, people with dementia may often experience age-related disabilities including mobility, vision, hearing and communication di�iculties.

Outcomes: A number of key themes emerged from the

research including: A lack of awareness and knowledge of dementia; The importance of familiarity; Planning ahead for the future; Heterogeneity of people with dementia and their families; Safety issues; Participatory design; Sustainability; Funding for adaptations; and The need for community care/support services.


Universal Design Homes Principles

1. Integrated into the neighbourhood 2. Easy to approach, enter & move about in 3. Easy to understand, safe to use & manage 4. Flexible, cost effective & adaptable over time

A literature review2 examined the alignment between dementia friendly design and Universal Design, and in particular the 4 Universal Design Homes Principles contained in the forthcoming UDHI Guidelines.

An environment that is easy to interpret & is calm

From the research and from the stakeholder engagement process2, eight dementia specific design issues emerged that reinforced and supplemented these UDHI principles. This approach ensures that critical issues are considered at all design scales for both new-build and retro-fit dwellings.

Good visual access


Developed by the National Disability Authority’s Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (

A full research report is available at http:// 2


Spatial Framework:

Location & approach





Spaces for living

Elements & systems

This research was funded by the National Disability Authority’s Centre for Excellence in Universal Design ( It was carried out by the Living with Dementia (LiD) Programme ( and TrinityHaus ( Trinity College Dublin.

Safe & accessible outdoor spaces

Distinct spaces

Unobtrusive safety measures & Technologies

Dementia Friendly Dwellings  

TrinityHaus and the Living with Dementia (LiD)Programme present at the IAGG-ER 8th Congress - Unlocking the Demographic Dividend Research...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you