Design for Better Living     

Good dementia design is good design

 Building an enabling environment for older people and people with dementia requires vision, knowledge and commitment. The Dementia Centre provides a range of services to inform and support the planning of your new build or refurbishment:

Being inspired is the first step in the planning process!

 Good design can:

  • support an older person and a person with dementia to function more independently and experience less confusion, anxiety and frustration;
  • reduce dependency on staff/carers;
  • reduce incidence of behaviours of concern;
  • save time and operational costs.

The Dementia Centre’s team of consultants have the knowledge and expertise to provide advice and support to make any environment more suitable for older people and people with dementia. To meet our consultants click here.

Design planning, advice and education

The Dementia Centre is able to:

Conduct an audit of an existing environment and identify areas for improvement, including:

  • layout for good visual access;
  • use of contrast and highlighting for independence;
  • lighting to compensate for the ageing eye;
  • outside spaces that are safe, inviting and user friendly;
  • thermal comfort;
  • furniture and fittings that promote independence;
  • effective use of technology.

Provide guidance in implementing changes to the environment including:

  • advice on proposed plans/drawings;
  • advice to architects, Service Management, Board members and Financial Officers on the importance of good design.

Support to maintain excellence in a dementia enabling design through:

Audit tools

The Dementia Centre uses two audit tools to assess environment (e.g. a person’s home, hospital ward, community centre, aged care home).


DesignSmart captures international best practice, and is essential for any decision maker adapting an existing building or developing a new building to be used by people with dementia. It is relevant across a range of settings including day centres, hospital wards, residential aged care facilities and medical centres. DesignSmart will help identify areas for improvement and/or guide you in the planning phase of your project

Environmental Assessment Tool (EAT):

The EAT is a short and simple tool that lists the core design concepts for a building where people with dementia will live, such as creating a domestic and small scale building. HammondCare uses this tool as a starting point for customers who want some general design guidance.

What is the different between DesignSmart and the EAT?

The Dementia Centre uses both DesignSmart and the EAT as they have different purposes.The EAT focuses on core design concepts; it will not help you with the specifics needed to fully design a dementia friendly environment. DesignSmart uses these concepts to give detailed specifications for creating dementia enabling environments. For example, DesignSmart offers guidelines on heights for signage and criteria for furnishings, paint colours and fixtures.

Dementia Design Endorsement

The Dementia Centre is also able to facilitate public recognition of your building’s design through our Dementia Design Endorsement program.

The process of endorsement involves two members of our consultancy team conducting an audit using DesignSmart. You will receive a detailed report identifying the strengths of the building design and highlighting areas for improvement. If the required criteria are met, you can be awarded with our Dementia Design Endorsement at gold, silver, or bronze level.

Contact the Dementia Centre for more information on how we can assist you Design for Better Living!