It is so great to find a project that really inspires us and reaffirms the positive action that our design profession can make to society.

The Genus team have worked on a number of gardens for people with dementia.  There are common themes and the use of memory elements are important.  Dementia is challenging to deal with an it is always our goal to provide spaces where residents can live a peaceful and fulfilling life.

Design for dementia care garden in Brighton featuring circular path & memory elements - Genus Landscape Architects 2013

Design for dementia care garden in Brighton featuring circular path & memory elements – Genus Landscape Architects 2013

While these projects feature the commonly seen circular paths (allowing residents to wander but not get confused) we have always tried to inject memory elements that are relevant to the resident’s lifestyle and backgrounds.  One project in Brighton featured picket fences, beach boxes and Church Street style coffee shop seating (shown above), while another garden in Albury was based around rural elements such as a river jetty, verandahs and farm tools.

Dementia care garden featuring rural memory elements – Genus Landscape Architects 2011

This project in the Netherlands however, takes dementia care to a new level and really opens up a whole range of possibilities for the design of dementia care facilities.

An Amazing Village Designed Just For People With Dementia | via Gizmodo

by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

“Centuries after Shakespeare wrote about King Lear’s symptoms, there’s still no perfect way to care for sufferers of dementia and Alzheimer’s. In the Netherlands, however, a radical idea is being tested: Self-contained “villages” where people with dementia shop, cook, and live together—safely.

We, as a population, are aging rapidly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors today dies with dementia. The process of finding—and paying for—long-term care can be very confusing, unfortunately, and difficult for both loved ones and patients. Most caretakers are underpaid, overworked, and must drive far distances to their jobs—giving away some 17 billion unpaid hours of care a year. And it’s just going to get worse: Alzheimer’s has increased by an incredible 68 percent since 2000, and the cost of caring for sufferers will increase from $203 billion last year to $1.2 trillion by 2050.

In short, we’re not prepared for the future that awaits us—financially, infrastructurally, or even socially. But in the small town of Weesp, in Holland—that bastion of social progressivism—at a dementia-focused living center called De Hogeweyk, aka Dementiavillage, the relationship between patients and their care is serving as a model for the rest of the world.

Hogeweyk, from a certain perspective, seems like a fortress: A solid podium of apartments and buildings, closed to the outside world with gates and security fences. But, inside, it is its own self-contained world: Restaurants, cafes, a supermarket, gardens, a pedestrian boulevard, and more.

The idea, explains Hogeweyk’s creators, is to design a world that maintains as much a resemblance to normal life as possible—without endangering the patients.”

Read more about this amazing design via An Amazing Village Designed Just For People With Dementia.