I'm not gone : a new care environment for people with dementia
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Citation:O'Neill, J. (2016). I'm not gone : a new care environment for people with dementia. Explanatory document. An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional), Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/3643
Dementia severely impacts an individual’s ability to think and reason coherently due to the deterioration of brain tissue. As it stands, there is no effective cure. In 2011, there were 48,000 people living with dementia throughout New Zealand. By 2050, this number will reach 150,000. People with dementia are frequently subjected to stark hospital-like facilities with little personality or comfort, resulting in a poor quality of life while in care. It is due to society wide anxieties around ageing and senility that these people with dementia are so poorly treated. This research project proposes a new architecture of care that prioritises people with dementia not just living, but living as fulfilling a life as possible. To achieve this, the resulting architecture is established on five key principles ; control of privacy, enabling autonomy, preserving dignity, assisting personhood, and empowering happiness. In addition, this care environment attempts to create a more caring and supportive community for those with dementia, by dealing with issues such as value and empathy. Initially, research is presented illustrating the effect dementia has on the interpretation of space. The project then demonstrates the impact that this has on the design of care environments, and finally exhibits how good architecture can help enable these individuals to live as fulfilling life as possible. This has been achieved through the critical analysis of contemporary research in the field of dementia, as it relates to medicine and psychology. Thorough study of existing care facilities and models of care has assisted in translating this research into architectural environments. The result of this research project is an architecture of care that enables people with dementia to live as fulfilling life as possible. The architecture is integrated into the existing cityscape, and demonstrates methods of shifting the way society thinks about people with dementia. Through careful intervention, the project creates opportunities for people with dementia to provide value to their community, and encourages community engagement with the care environment in an effort to create a societal empathy for people with dementia. Project site: New Lynn (Auckland, N.Z.) Area bordered by Great North Road, Rata Street and Delta Avenue.