Environments for Aging - Summer 2022 - 37

hub of activity that recreated the quintessential
downtown feel. Households and neighborhoods
feed into these engaging spaces, which could
include beauty/barber shops, stores, theaters,
bakeries, and coffee shops, behind the façade of
a downtown. Such settings provide great opportunities
for socialization and activities; however,
they tend to be more expensive to build because
of the cost of the town/street décor.
This approach also begs the question, " Is a
simulated reality or a fake façade the right approach
to memory care environments? " Do we
want to attempt to trick a resident into believing
something is real? If they can't perceive the difference
and it creates positive outcomes, does
it matter?
The village. The village takes the house or
neighborhood concept to an even larger scale
with a connection of houses/neighborhoods
that builds a larger sense of community. One
of the most well-known, Dementia Village in
Hogeweyk, Netherlands, started in 2009 and
is made up of 23 households of seven residents
each. Circulation, like a town, is mostly outdoors
with pathways and walks that lead to a
more central downtown commons area that
includes a grocery store, coffee shop, bakery,
and hair salon, to name a few. Residents are
free to wander, explore, and socialize without
restraints. This approach has generated a lot of
interest and numerous other villages have been
built or are in the planning stages, including in
the United States.
Dementia-friendly communities. The
above-mentioned models, each with their own
attributes, have addressed only a small fraction
of those living with Alzheimer's disease and
other forms of dementia. In fact, the majority of
care providers are family members. Recognizing
this issue, many communities have adopted
a dementia-friendly model, which focuses on
training and sensitizing the retirement community,
neighborhood, town, or city at large to
better understand the disease and how to support
those living with it.
Within senior living communities, this
model results from an intentional decision to
fully integrate residents with dementia into
the broader community. Ultimately, these " integrated "
communities must strive for spatial
literacy throughout their campus to provide
authentic autonomy and connectedness for
those with cognitive differences. In addition to
intentional planning of the built environment,
they must also engage in rigorous staff training,
technology use, and, most importantly, a community-wide
commitment to understand and
support residents living with dementia.
Overall, the dementia-friendly model provides
greater autonomy and freedom to people
living with dementia by allowing them to remain
in the community and engage and thrive
in day-to-day living. However, there's a risk
factor associated with this approach because
there's less safety and control.
Where do we go next?
In the last decade or so, care providers, memory
care consultants, architects, and engineers
have made enormous strides in the design of
memory care-specific settings, creating warm,
welcoming, and supportive settings for residents.
As we look ahead, what can we do to
take this work to the next level?
Today, memory care settings, although beautiful,
tend to be secure and self-contained.
However, people are social by nature and the
more we can open up social opportunities for
residents, connecting them to the greater retirement
communities or the community at
large, the better their life experience will be.
Ever-changing technology will play a big part
in that by supporting and connecting people in
ways we can only imagine today.
Eric McRoberts is a partner at RLPS Architects
(Lancaster, Pa.) He can be reached at emcroberts@
rlps.com.
For more on memory care environments, including
fundamental design concepts, visit efamagazine.com/
trends/memory-care-design-fundamentals.
SPOTLIGHT ON
EFA CONFERENCE
Author Eric McRoberts spoke on this topic at
the 2022 EFA Conference + Expo held in April in
Milwaukee. The session recording is among 10
being shared through the 2022 EFA On Demand
program. For more information and to register, visit
environmentsforaging.com/on-demand.
summer 2022 | 37
http://www.efamagazine.com/trends/memory-care-design-fundamentals http://www.efamagazine.com/trends/memory-care-design-fundamentals http://www.environmentsforaging.com/on-demand

Environments for Aging - Summer 2022

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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/2022summer
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/2021Winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/efa/Summer2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/fall2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/2019fall
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/efa/201510
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