Dementia Design Tool launched
Gradus has launched an interactive Dementia Design Tool to enable designers and specifiers to create inclusive designs for their buildings, so people with dementia can use them independently and comfortably.
Created in association with the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at the University of Stirling, the digital tool is part of Gradus’s new ‘See Through Their Eyes’ campaign to raise industry awareness of the importance of dementia-inclusive design in care homes and other healthcare facilities.
Gradus MD, Steve Watt, said: “There are currently 12 million people in the UK aged 65 or over, and by 2030, it is anticipated that over 21 per cent of the population will be over 65. The makes disability-free life expectancy and how to keep increasing is a huge issue, that will only grow in the coming years. As leaders in contract interior solutions, we are encouraging the whole industry to take this issue seriously. That’s what the ‘See Through Their Eyes’ campaign and our new Dementia Design Tool are all about.”
Available to use in consultation with Gradus’s team of specialists, the Gradus Dementia Design Tool ‘guides designers and specifiers through every step of the design process’ – ensuring that dementia-inclusivity is automatically built into the projects they work on.
For every room in a building, users can choose from a wide range of Gradus and Gerflor solutions, all certified by the Dementia Services Development Centre ‘in recognition of how they help to reduce trips, slips and falls, offer support and guidance, and negate sight loss, by aiding navigation around a building’.
The products include Gradus’s Carezone carpet – rated ‘1a’ by the DSDC in recognition of its suitability for dementia environments – as well as its ranges of barrier matting, wall protection, and contract flooring accessories, and Gerflor products such as Taralay Impression Control safety flooring.
The tool provides users with guidance on tonal contrast, one of the critical aspects of dementia design. For example, it is vital that people with dementia can see where the floor ends and the wall begins, requiring at least 30 points of light reflectance value (LRV) between these two surfaces. Accordingly, the Gradus Dementia Design Tool warns users with red crosses when two surfaces are failing to provide the correct contrast, and reassures them with green ticks when the contrast is acceptable.
The ‘See Through Their Eyes’ campaign has been created to promote independent living for people with dementia, limited sight, and cognitive issues, and raise awareness of the need to design public buildings so that more people can live independent and fulfilling lives for as long as possible. Gradus said: “This means understanding how people with dementia can often see the world, which can be impacted by eye conditions including glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and hemianopia that distort their vision, potentially leading to distress and confusion. Such eye conditions necessitate buildings used by people with dementia being designed with a deep understanding of the ways users will experience them.”
A new ‘landing page’ on Gradus’s website included guest ‘blogs’ and video interviews with a range of experts gives their perspective on designing for dementia – from Robert Needham, Community Centre chair at Age UK Tameside, to Lynsey Hutchinson, senior interior designer at the Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling. The page also includes links to the ‘dementia-inclusive’ products in the Gradus and Gerflor offerings, a campaign brochure on the campaign and its motivations, and contact details for Gradus’s expert advisors on dementia-inclusive building projects.