Our Dementia Design Specialist, Becky Smith, interviewed on Cartwright Communication’s second episode of ‘CC Live’, sharing her experience in creating and delivering the best possible environments for care.
Last month our dementia design specialist at Leonard Design, Becky Smith, interviewed on Cartwright Communication’s second episode of CC Live. CC Live is a series of webisodes to help us stay connected, featuring conversations with industry leaders from variety of sectors.
This episode focused on how specialist design and experienced construction partners can revolutionise the way we deliver care to “create communities not care homes”. Becky shared her thoughts, knowledge and experience in creating and delivering the best possible environments for their residents.
The webisode centred around key dementia design features implemented within our projects, the main inspiration behind these and how good design really promotes and enhances resident wellbeing and the operation of a home. The live Q&A at the end of the webisode also saw a variety of questions coming in, some of which Becky has answered below. Many focused on the challenges associated with good care home design, and the future trends of healthcare design that we should be designing too for the future.
Do you think that further consideration needs to be given to overall care communities of a mixed use development? Many residents in care are over 55 and increasingly those people are still working full or part time and want to release equity from the sale of a family home but want to transition into independent care with a view to having friends and relationships in a community when their care needs advance.
Yes further consideration in mixed use developments needs to be addressed so that we can create genuine communities which remain inclusive and accessible for everyone regardless of age. One factor which seems to diminish as we age, is the level of choice and options for housing. We see there being a massive push in the future for a range of leasing, and co-share living developments for the elderly, as there currently is for people of the younger generation. And the key here is to make the architecture flexible, so the building has the ability to adapt as its user ages and the needs of its occupants adjust. We’re living in an unprecedented era of exponential age growth, so to not design for this in the future would be to deny the needs of a large percentage of the population.
And the key here is to make the architecture flexible, so the building has the ability to adapt as its user ages and the needs of its occupants adjust.
Given the clear demographic growth in the over 75 population, what are the main barriers to increasingly supply of modern purpose built facility?
We continually see the main barriers being the traditional ‘one size fits all’ development approach to new sites and refurbishment of old ones. We should be constantly questioning and evolving our designs so they meet the demands of the current demographic and trends. Too often, people are content to stay comfortable in the realms of what they know will work and what generates the most amount of profit whilst forgetting that the market is not in the place it was 10 years ago. The demand for purpose built care facilities is increasing, but it does so alongside the rising demand for better quality, community based care facilities.
We should be constantly questioning and evolving our designs so they meet the demands of the current demographic and trends.
What things would you recommend are incorporated into design briefs for new build and refurbishment care home project to create a sense of community?
For both new builds and refurbishment projects, we would always recommend community facilities which suit the style and offering of the home. This grounds the scheme within its context and helps promote an individuals sense of autonomy and independence within the care setting. This is often done by studying the demographics of the area to understand what is desired by the wider community and what is also suitable and stimulating for the care setting.
This can be anything from small to larger scale interventions such as ice cream parlours, hydrotherapy pools and bird aviaries. It really depends on the site, demographic context and the care offering of the home.
For refurbishment projects it is important to maximise the site potential, and this usually comes hand in hand with understanding current problems and issues which the management faces. Analysing the current situation in depth, therefore allows us to unlock various solutions to not only improve and enhance the existing environment, but often maximise its potential on site with new purpose built community facilities.