The facilities needs of people with memory loss are unique. They may find stressful or difficult conditions that others do not. Facilities that strive to be comfortable and appropriate to these individuals must be carefully designed to meet the criterion of this set of the population.
We addressed these issues for Robert and Mary’s Place, an organization in Ellsworth serving those with memory loss. Their current leased space cannot provide the range or quality of services necessary for their patients. Our design proposal for a new facility has a day building and an overnight building. These two buildings will provide directed care for people who need around the clock care and those who can sleep at home.
The facility features that are specific to the requirements of people with memory loss are the result of working with the executive director of Robert and Mary’s Place. Her insights into appropriate design comes from an understanding of the literature on memory loss, and also from direct, observational experience.
Color choices and the use or disuse of contrast are a major design element. Patients sometimes mistake a color change in flooring as if it represented the edge of a cliff. At the same time, color cues can indicate where a corridor or hall is turning a corner, or coming to an end.
The overnight building has a walking loop that surrounds an open space. Bedrooms are located off the walking loop, and feature Dutch doors. This layout lets people walk the loop, others to be able to see activities from their bedrooms, and staff to have visual contact with the entire facility.
The day building consists of an activity room and a quiet room.