Growing research is highlighting the effect that environment has on people’s happiness and health. Specifically, research has shown that design elements can reduce stress, which can be especially important for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other age-related dementia.
When designing its new memory care neighborhoods, Touchmark intentionally incorporated various therapeutic features, such as color, light, nature and way-finding. As a result, Touchmark at Mt. Bachelor Village’s memory care neighborhoods have the feel of a home that is inviting, stylish and comfortable.
Eye-popping landscapes and statuettes grace the walls and gathering areas. “Fun stuff” is placed here and there to give residents items to manipulate — not only exercising their bodies but their minds, as well, said Joseph Billig, AIA, senior vice president of Architecture for Touchmark. “The accessories and knickknacks are chosen to be easy for residents to pick up, explore and perhaps evoke a memory or a story.” All are made of nonbreakable materials.
“For residents, this is their home, and because of the nature of dementia, a secured environment is necessary,” said Billig, who designed the building along with LRS Architects. “This means most of the residents’ days will be spent in their neighborhood. For that reason, it is even more important the spaces are warm and inviting and feel like home.”
Billig adds, “Home might mean prints and figurines of cats, dogs, birds, landscapes and trees. These all add a comfortable feel.” Specific pieces are strategically placed to guide residents to or away from spaces or exits.
Also, warm-colored fabrics with advanced textiles cover chairs, sofas, recliners and gliders, offering comfort and practicality.
The two neighborhoods support personal interaction and help create a family atmosphere. Each has its own kitchen and dining area, space for activities, living room and laundry. The neighborhoods share a beauty salon/barber shop, spa baths, family meeting room and a courtyard with covered patio, walking paths and raised garden beds.
Design Features Provide Many Benefits
• An open floor plan provides a walking loop and allows staff to see throughout the neighborhoods and garden courtyard area.
• Dutch doors offer privacy for residents while allowing staff to monitor their activities. The doors also invite residents to participate in events in the common areas.
• Gardens and courtyards are within a controlled, secure setting. Many people enjoy gardening, and all plants and fixtures enhance the restful environment.
• Private bathrooms with roll-in accessible showers make it easier for people using mobility devices to shower in their own residence. The design also avoids the need to step over a shower threshold, which can become difficult with advancing memory loss.
• A wall-mounted smart board encourages residents to Skype with family and take advantage of other online activities.
Touchmark’s memory care service combines research-based design and a certified Best Friends environment. The result is a home that supports the well-being of people living with dementia.
Best Friends, an industry-leading approach developed specifically to care for people with dementia, is a trademark of Health Professions Press, Inc.