A new manifesto outlining best-practice design for people with dementia and signed by hundreds of experts around the world should inform the process to improve aged care accommodation in Australia, a dementia expert tells Australian Ageing Agenda.

The Dignity Manifesto of Design for People Living with Dementia describes the values and principles that underpin Alzheimer’s Disease International’s October 2020 report Design Dignity Dementia: dementia-related design and the built environment and addresses its first recommendation.

More than 200 international experts have already signed the manifesto, which was launched via Design Dignity Dementia Organisation website on 1 May.

Lead author of the ADI report, Professor Richard Fleming said expert-backed set of principles and values should inform discussions on the implementation of the royal commission’s recommendation for dementia-friendly design.

The royal commissioners recommended the Australian Government develop, publish and promote a comprehensive set of national aged care design principles and guidelines on accessible and dementia friendly design for residential aged care.

Richard Fleming

Professor Fleming said the manifesto provided clear and succinct statements about good evidence-based dementia design and was the ideal starting point for this process.

“We’ve got a royal commission into aged care that made a very specific recommendation about developing a set of principles to guide designing for people with dementia. The manifesto will give them access to something that gives them a head start in their deliberations,” Professor Fleming told AAA.

“It will also put designing well for people with dementia more firmly on the map in the minds of people involved in designing buildings and public spaces, especially those involved at a national level,” said Professor Fleming, an honorary professorial fellow at the University of Wollongong.

The manifesto was launched to start and international conversation and seek refinement of the values and principles.

It aims to reach international agreement on the principles and values that architects, designers, planners and policy makers need to adopt to ensure that people with dementia can enjoy the rights of dignity, autonomy, independence, equality of opportunity and non-discrimination.

The values and principles in the manifesto include the importance of beginning each project by developing a vision for a dignified way of life for people with dementia, making design safety measures as unobtrusive as possible and designing all components of the environment to be as familiar as possible.

Professor Fleming said the support of more than 200 experts from over 30 countries for the manifesto in its first month was positive.

“The enthusiasm shown by the leading design experts for the dignity manifesto show that we are not far from having a truly international consensus on the values and principles that need to be applied when designing for people living with dementia,” he said.

Access the Dignity Manifesto of Design for People Living with Dementia.

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1 Comment

  1. Absolutely essential. Good dementia design is good design for all. Needs to be done in the planning phase. This will be beneficial for people living with dementia , frontline staff who work in these places and save operators $$$$$$ in not having to go and fix avoidable errors.

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