Dementia home-assessment app advises adaptations in 20 minutes

Image: Stirling University’s new dementia home-assessment app

A new app has been developed which has been designed to assess the suitability of a home for someone living with dementia.

Designers at Stirling University say the app can recommend changes that should be made to a building and can carry out a full assessment of a two-bedroom house in 20 minutes.

Users of the free app – people living with dementia, family members, healthcare professionals, construction experts or designers – will be asked questions about their surroundings, and asked to take photographs.

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The app then analyses the lighting, colour, contrast and noise and refers to a dementia database called Iridis. The app will then recommend changes to be made such as a different light bulb colour or rearranging whole bathrooms.

According to Stirling University, this is the first app if its kind in the world.

“This is a unique opportunity to revolutionise how we improve day-to-day life for older people and people living with dementia around the world,” Lesley Palmer, from the university’s Dementia Services Development Centre, said.

Lesley Palmer, Stirling University, Dementia Services Development Centre

“We are creating a simple way for anyone to assess how dementia-friendly their environment is, and find out how to improve their surroundings.

“With around 50 million people estimated to be living with dementia worldwide, there is an immediate need to invest in our aging population and provide improved services and facilities.”

The app, which will be available to download in September 2017, is being designed in collaboration with construction experts Space Group.

Stephen Brooks, director at Space Architects, said: “We acknowledge that there are variations of ‘apps’ for guidance on dementia design principles and auditing the built environment, but none which have such a level of detail and have a direct and real-time results link to the construction and product industry.

“Previous dementia design application platforms have focussed entirely on the dissemination of information, as opposed to harnessing the opportunity to collect data and strike a two-way channels of communication between the researcher, designer and the end user.”

Brooks added: “Creating fully inclusive built environments is a considerable undertaking and highlights a new area under consideration for our ageing population. This software will offer designers and contractors new intelligence needed to facilitate and future-proof dementia care design. What we are offering is truly ground-breaking and the software within the IRIDIS app will be one of the greatest advances to date in dementia care design principles.”

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