Improving mental wellbeing in care homes through design
By focusing and adapting the design approach of care homes, the mental wellbeing of residents can be improved. In turn, this would go a long way towards improving the overall standard of living and comfort of elderly residents.
The importance of mental health in care homes
Good mental wellbeing has a powerful effect on a person’s perception, happiness and health, so factoring this into the design of a care home can have a huge positive effect. Some residents find the transition to social care difficult, but by creating an environment that comforts and relaxes residents from the outset, you can prevent the risk of isolation and loneliness.
Design practices for mental health
When it comes to mental health, design should be centred on minimising confusion, anxiety and stress. Residents who suffer from dementia, in particular, can benefit greatly from simple changes such as clear labelling, signposting and simple patterns and colours.
Colour coding rooms by function is another simple, yet effective, design practice which can make day-to-day life in a care home simpler for residents.
Variety in design
While clarity is essential, variety is another highly influential design principle. Lack of stimulation — relying only on repetition — is a key factor in poor mental wellbeing, in everyday life as well as in care homes. By designing with variety in mind, you can provide a range of stimulating activities and environments which balance independence with sociability.
Variety also comes from setting the care home apart from other, more standard, built environments. The key to achieving this falls in two considerations: one, planning for residents with a range of illnesses, conditions and accessibility issues, and two, consulting with an experienced care home design consultant who can help you to plan with variety in mind.
Planning your design
Whether a new design or a refurbishment, embedding a considered design approach which takes into account the potential triggers of anxiety, stress and poor mental health will provide a healthy living environment for residents.
There are a variety of approaches to achieve this, but consistency between communal areas, bedrooms, outdoor spaces, activities, accessibility and clarity of information should all be considered as essential.
At Aedifice Partnership, we manage new care home construction as well as refurbishment projects throughout the UK. For further details on the services Aedifice Partnership offer, visit www.aedifice.co.uk or call 0800 151 0234.