Dementia Centred

By DSDC Guest

April 26th, 2019

Design Matters: Creating Responsive Environments for People with Dementia in Long-Term Care Settings

Professor Habib Chaudhury, Professor of Department of Gerontology, Simon Fraser University, Canada will be delivering a keynote presentation at this year’s International Masterclass on 14 + 15 May.


Habib Chaudhury, Professor and Chair in the Department of Gerontology, has over two decades of research experience in the field of Environmental Gerontology. His research interests are: physical environment for people with dementia in care facilities and seniors housing, memories of home and personhood in dementia, and age- and dementia-friendly communities. Projects have been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Publications include over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and monographs. Published books include: Environments in an Aging Society: Autobiographical Perspectives in Environmental Gerontology (Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Vol 38, 2018; co-edited with F. Oswald), Remembering Home: Rediscovering the Self in Dementia (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) and co-edited volume Home and Identity in Later Life: International Perspectives (Springer Publications, 2005; with G. Rowles). Dr. Chaudhury also offers evidence-based design consultations with organizations and care providers in visioning, planning, design and evaluation of seniors’ housing and long term care homes. He is also affiliated with the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Dr Chaudhury is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.



The physical or built environment (e.g., architecture, interior design) plays a fundamental role in creation of a therapeutic living and care setting for persons with dementia. Unsupportive physical environmental features can contribute to “challenging” behaviours in people with dementia, e.g., spatial disorientation, anxiety, agitation, social withdrawal. Conversely, a positive environment can reduce responsive behaviours and enable positive engagement, e.g., reduce anxiety, agitation, disorientation, increase personal autonomy. The physical environment must be recognized as an important component in transformation of the predominant culture of long-term care settings.  The physical setting can be person-centred by being responsive to a person’s cognitive functioning, sensory changes, preferences, lifestyle patterns and biography. This presentation will provide an overview of the key environmental design principles that can support residents’ quality of life and well-being in a long-term care setting. 

The goal of this presentation is to provide evidence-based information to equip long-term care facility administrators, care staff, facility planners and design professionals with the knowledge base to understand the importance of a responsive physical environment in person-centred dementia care. After the session, participants will be equipped to make informed decisions in making small-scale environmental changes, as well as plan for medium-major renovations that would optimize residents’ quality of life in a care facility. Objectives: a) to identify typical problems in the physical environments of typical care homes for people with dementia, b) to understand and appreciate the role of therapeutic goals and environmental design principles in dementia care, and c) to make informed decisions in planning and design for renovations in existing care facilities or planning and design of new care facilities.

Book your tickets to the International Masterclass.

Categories: Dementia Design