Memory Care and Alzheimer’s Units

Elsevier, Environmental Psychology and Human Well-Being, Effects of Built and Natural Settings, 2018, Pages 365-386
Margaret P.Calkins

The designed environment can have significant negative, or positive, impact on the well-being of individuals who are living with dementia. Complex, highly-stimulating settings with noxious and nonrelevant stimulation create excess disabilities, stress, and dysfunction, whereas settings that are familiar, with prosthetic supports that help compensate for changing abilities, better support independence, use of residual abilities, and well-being. Many of the previous guidelines for creating supportive environments for individuals living with dementia have revolved around sets of therapeutic goals. While useful, this approach puts primary focus on the needs and abilities of the individual, but not on the larger and more complex social, organizational, and even cultural contexts within which these settings exist. In this chapter, Bronfenbrenner’s model of the ecology of human development is used to create a nested hierarchy of contextual factors that provide a more encompassing perspective of shared residential settings for people living with dementia.