The World Alzheimer Report 2020, ‘Design, dignity, dementia: Dementia-related design and the built environment’, is a global perspective of dementia-related design that takes a cross cultural approach, reflects regional and economic differences in low-, middle- and high-income countries, and considers urban versus rural settings.
It highlights the role of innovation, entrepreneurship and the importance of aesthetics.
It also looks to benchmark against progress made in the physical disabilities movement and demands the same progress is now made in design solutions for people living with dementia. The report calls for design solutions to be included in national governments’ responses to dementia, including in their national plans, recognising design as a vital, non-pharmacological intervention.
Across two volumes, including 84 case studies, the report looks at design in home/domestic settings, day and residential care, hospitals and public buildings and spaces. The report makes a strong statement that design for dementia is 30 years behind the physical disabilities movement – and that this must change.
To coincide with this report, we invited eight innovators, pioneers, architects and researchers in the field, to sit down and talk about what is most important to them and what inspires them when it comes to designing spaces for and with people living with dementia. While each offers a unique perspective, all interviewees share the common goal of trying to advance the role design has to play, sitting alongside other vital therapeutic and non-pharmacological interventions.
As a key response to the recommendations of the report, the co-lead authors launched the Dignity Manifesto of Design for People Living with Dementia manifesto in May 2021. Following sector leading advice from signatories, the values and principles highlighted in the World Alzheimer Report were refined in October 2021. Alongside refinements, new values and principles have been added, including designing to assist people living with dementia to maintain their culture and affording people opportunities to enjoy contact with nature.