In this research the role of the built environment in quality of life of people living with dementia has been investigated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The functionality, well-being, and quality of life of people living with dementia can be positively impacted by careful environmental design. As a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak, sudden rearrangements were made in the social and physical environment of dementia care residents. The present study aimed to explore the lessons learned regarding the built environment during the COVID-19 lockdown and to find how the built environment might contribute positively to improved well-being of dementia care residents in the future. In a multi-method explorative study, social-physical aspects of the built environment that influence quality of life during the COVID-19 pandemic were explored through an online survey and complementary interviews with care staff, and observations of dementia care residents.
Results showed that the built environment facilitates (or restricts) flexible use of spaces, easy infection prevention, and enjoyment for residents, while also determining the atmosphere. In general, the buildings of many care facilities are not designed to accommodate a severely infectious disease outbreak. Additionally, nursing staff have learned the importance of attending to the number of stimuli in the social and built environment and attuning these to individual, instead of group, needs. Furthermore, a warm building with a spacious layout, flexible use of spaces, and a harmonious interior design contributes to a higher quality of life, better well-being, improved infection control, and greater resilience.
It is therefore recommended to design and build long-term dementia care facilities large-scale and to carry them out small-scale.
Coppelmans, A.A.E.M. (2021). The role of the built environment in quality of life of people living with dementia during the covid-19 pandemic. [Master’s thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology]. Eindhoven University of Technology Repository. https://research.tue.nl/en/studentTheses/the-role-of-the-built-environment-in-quality-of-life-of-people-li