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People with dementia are particularly affected by the environment. Research has shown that the physical and social environments of dementia care facilities are important but often untapped resources that can have a significant impact on quality of life of people with dementia.

People with dementia experience change in sensitivity in regards to their environment and have difficulty understanding their sensorial experiences. Light and sound are the most sensorial stimulation in any environment and controlling and managing the level of light and sound can be challenging for caregivers and staff in long/ short term care facilities.

People with dementia have impaired function, however as Rosemary Bakker says: “it is commonly assumed that the problem is the cognitive decline rather than interaction between patient and the environment” (Radvin & Katzen, 2014). To make any environment suitable for people with cognitive disorder, first we need to understand the problem and then plan the space in regards to the problem. Assessing and modifying light and noise levels in the environment can contribute to providing dignified care for people with dementia and for other older adults with a range of sensory and cognitive impairments (Dewing, 2009).

The goal is to help minimize the suffering that dementia patients face on a day to day basis, which can be done by altering the built environment in which they reside. This site provides guidelines and recommendations for light and sound therapies and applications that can be integrated within the built environment of a home or hospital setting.

 

Sources:
Dewing, J. (2009). Caring for people with dementia: noise and light. Nursing Older People, 21(5), 34-38. doi:10.7748/nop2009.06.21.5.34.c7102
Ravdin, L. D., & Katzen, H. L. (2014). Handbook on the neuropsychology of aging and dementia. New York: Springer (pp.153-166).