Architect & indoor environmental consultant
ELINE VERMEULEN

Dementia

Dementia is a serious brain disorder that gradually affects the memory. This disorder is irreversible. The chance that someone gets dementia is 20% for men, and for women this percentage is even higher; 30%. The older you get how higher the chance that you will get dementia. The Netherlands has currently 235,000 people with dementia. Due to the aging population this number will grow explosively in the future. In 2050 more than half a million people will suffer from dementia. Also, people will get dementia at a younger age. In the Netherlands, an estimated 12,000 people under the age of 65 have dementia.
So we are dealing with an explosive growth in people with dementia, of which the majority is 65 years or older. This means a new building task.

Elderly people with dementia feel differently, experience differently and express themselves differently. If someone with dementia isn’t comfortable they can’t properly communicate that. This may cause behavioral problems. Recognition and clarity are important aspects that are needed in a living environment for people with dementia. Landmarks are an example of a way to accomplish this.

There are three types of people with dementia: zen-demented people, wanderers and balance seekers. Each of these types are in need of a different amount of stimulus. This ensures that the elderly with dementia feels at ease and does not express behavioral problems.

More information about designing for people with dementia see (in Dutch): download file .