Dementia @ Stirling: Dementia Care, Design and Technology

February 12th, 2018

Last week Steph, Leah & Ema from our studio visited Stirling University to attend the Dementia Care, Design and Technology seminar at their Iris Murdoch Building on campus. The seminar, which was hosted over a span of two days, showcased the work of the Dementia and Ageing Research Group [DARG], the Dementia Services Development Centre [DSDC] and the Dementia Studies MSc teaching team. The range of topics discussed varied from the Paths for All walking groups by Dr Grant Gibson, to Support for Carers and Volunteers by Ms Lynda Hutton. As designers for the care home industry, this seminar has proven very beneficial for us to better understand the resident we’re designing for.

One topic that stood out in particular which I found to be surprisingly relevant to our work was Corinne Greasley-Adams’ talk on the development of Kings Park, Stirling. Although the development taking way in Kings Park is largely a different environment to what we design for the healthcare industry, the key principles were still concrete. One of the main responsibilities were to support navigation in the park, much like we do with signage in our homes. Another key issue was the limited amount of seating available, which again we try to combat by making sure we include as many clusters of seating as possible in our CAD layouts to make sure that there’s enough opportunities for the resident to be seated with people or if they’d rather be on their own.

On another topic, it was very interesting to hear about the different levels of care and outlook on dementia from countries such as China, Ghana, Kenya and India. Our nation have improved so much over the past few decades on what it means to have dementia and how we can aid the people living with dementia, so it was very eye-opening to find out that dementia can still be looked down upon in other countries, some even considering it to be the work of evil spirits.

Overall, the seminar was an eye-opening event which shows how varied the improvements to Dementia research has become, showing that there’s plenty of things we can do to aid people with dementia in their day-to-day life.