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Support & Insight for the Autumn of Life

Design of Homes and Living Spaces for People with Dementia



Improve the independence of people with dementia. This online book is available at no charge. Learn dozens of clever design tips that can make a world of difference.

Good Practice in the Design of Homes and Living Spaces for People with Dementia and Sight Loss is a new book of guidelines launched by Thomas Pocklington Trust and the University of Stirling.

The book reveals how clever design of living spaces can improve the lives of people who are living with two common conditions – dementia and sight loss.

Get the book & learn more, below the ad…

The evidence-based guidelines help make homes more accessible for people with both conditions and were developed after researchers gathered the views and experiences of people living with dementia and sight loss, their families and carers and a wide range of professionals.

Sight loss and dementia are both associated with ageing. The consequences of visual mistakes can be serious for people with dementia who may not realise or remember that they have made a mistake or be able to rationalise or ‘reality check’ what they believe they are seeing.

Professor Alison Bowes, who led the Stirling research, says: “Our research focuses on the person, their individual needs and rights, and the ways in which their independence and capacity can be improved. The new guidelines consider the individual first and show that simple measures can make their homes more accessible and supportive. We believe these are among the first such guidelines to begin to address this important issue of promoting independence and capacity for people with both dementia and sight loss.”

Before being finalised the guidelines were reviewed in an online survey of 360 specialists working in the field of dementia and/or sight loss. There was strong agreement with most of the elements and this is reflected in their final format.

Dr. Watson says: “These guidelines will help people with dementia and sight loss to live their daily lives with more independence. We also hope that they will trigger a greater awareness of the problems caused when these two conditions are combined and the importance of considering sight loss alongside issues of dementia.”

Click here to download your free copy of
Good Practice in the Design of Homes and Living Spaces for People with Dementia and Sight Loss.

Article continued below…


In a new online resource all the evidence gathered for this research, including the literature review, interviews and focus group feedback will be available to search, providing an invaluable tool for researchers, professionals and all those interested in dementia and sight loss. The guidelines are also summarised in an easy to read booklet and are available in audio and podcast formats.


  • The research – Best Practice in the Design of Homes and Living Spaces for People Living with Dementia and Sight Loss – was commissioned by Thomas Pocklington Trust and carried out by Professor Alison Bowes, Dr Louise McCabe, Dr Alison Dawson and Dr Corinne Greasley-Adams of the University of Stirling.
  • The guidelines and a full resource of the evidence behind them will be available at the following web address:
  • The summarised guidelines in booklet, audio and podcast format are obtainable from: or .
  • Thomas Pocklington Trust is a national charity dedicated to delivering positive change for visually impaired people, and commissions a programme of social and public health research, including research about housing for people with sight loss. See:
  • The University of Stirling Dementia Services Development Centre is an international centre of knowledge and expertise dedicated to improving the lives of people with dementia.


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Daughter of Dementia
Daughter of Dementia
June 16, 2014 8:11 pm

Question for the experts.My mom lives in a memory care assisted living community.To combat residents from messing up THEIR closets, the owners have implemented a "Lock the residents out of THEIR closet and apartment"policy.Is that recommended

Reply to  Daughter of Dementia
June 17, 2014 2:21 am

The memory care community is between a rock and a hard place. NO people should NOT be locked out of the rooms and living spaces, that they have paid for. Imagine you landlord locking you out of your apartment during the day?

BUT AD people DO rummage in other people space and disrupt others possessions.

Who does this bother most? The family members who visit. "Why did that man come into my mother's room?" (I bet mom has wandered into that man's room many times also) Their attempt to control the situation may be a violation of the resident's rights.

Suggestion: talk to the management about your concerns. Perhaps they are not educating all the families about normal AD behavior? A compromise needs to be worked out.

Residents should not be locked out of their living areas.

Reply to  Daughter of Dementia
June 17, 2014 3:19 pm

I worked in a memory care unit at an assisted living facility and from experience it's highly recommended that the rooms stay locked. Residents have broken lamps and totally distroyed a room which can cause harm to themselves not only when the family come to visit they get upset to find the room that way. With 24 rooms and only 2 caregivers, things happen u can't always see right away. I think it's best they stay out in the open during the day so they can be watched. Plus, other residents could go in others rooms and urinate or have bowel moments in drawers out chairs that wouldn't be seen untill later but if the doors are locked then that won't happen. Also, you have some with a more understanding then others and if left alone , one could be taken advantage of without really knowing what's going on…. If course some can and should be able to go to their rooms but for the most is my opinion they should be watched.

June 17, 2014 2:10 am

More about sight loss than Dementia. In fact some dementia recommendations are wrong:
“With good design of both internal and external entrances and exits, people with dementia and sight loss will be able to move easily between rooms and to enter and leave buildings freely.”

Making it EASY for a dementia person to exit a building easily can be very dangerous!

And plant Bamboo in your yard???
That's CRAZY!!!! Bamboo is incredibly invasive, impossible to control and difficult to eradicate.

The book is still worth looking at.

Orchard House
Orchard House
September 28, 2018 1:36 pm

Yes Dementia and sight loss are both problems are comes during aging. And as a care giver I understand this is very serious and big issue. And it is their right to live their lives independently.

B. Berger

B. Berger

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This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

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