Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in HE
 (left to right) - Elliot Gillard (Architecture Student), Judith Bisset (Occupational Therapy lecturer), Liam Davies (Architecture Student) 4th from left is Faith Mutyiri (Occupational Therapy student), Dawn Mitchell (Subject Lead Occupational Therapy),

Design for dementia 

RGU's Architecture and Occupational Therapy students join forces to design for dementia

Posted by Hannah Vickers | April 29, 2017 | Students

Groups of architecture and occupational therapy students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have joined forces for a collaborative learning opportunity focusing on the needs of individuals with dementia in relation to their living environments. 

The joint teaching and learning sessions were developed as an innovative way to support these third year students and encourage future colleagues to collaborate, learning with and from each other.

The project has enabled a better understanding of building design and interpreting plans for the occupational therapy students, while the architecture students have gained awareness and knowledge of the needs of this particular population.

As Dawn Mitchell, subject leader in Occupational Therapy, explains, there are huge challenges for people with dementia when it comes to carrying out simple everyday tasks around the home.

“Individuals with dementia frequently experience challenges in their daily life due to cognitive impairment such as memory loss, disorientation or visual impairments,” she said.

“These challenges can make finding their way around the environment or carrying out new or even familiar activities difficult. Through their unique understanding of these difficulties, occupational therapists can inform and influence design and building of inclusive environments.

“This process enables older people to remain active participants in society by allowing individuals to continue to participate in their chosen occupations while maintaining independence through reducing risk and building confidence.

“Collaboratively the students have considered how the environment could be created or modified to reduce potential barriers. 

“It is anticipated this shared learning will increase the students’ knowledge which they will use in their chosen careers and also support their understanding of each other’s roles and future collaborative working.”

This an invaluable experience for our student architects as they are learning to design more adaptive environments that allow people to remain independent for longer - Neil Lamb, subject leader in Architecture, RGU

Neil Lamb, subject leader in Architecture, added: “This an invaluable experience for our student architects as they are learning to design more adaptive environments that allow people to remain independent for longer.”

“Once they started chatting with the OT students, it became clear that some established design practices needed to be re-thought as they can present real difficulties for those with dementia.

“This collaborative approach to teaching and learning made perfect sense for us, as the students could gain great insight from each other and ultimately it could lead to the improvement of living conditions those with dementia.

“The students worked incredibly well together and we are looking forward to developing this concept, given the success of the pilot and the positive feedback from both sets of students.”

Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in HE

Related stories

New science centre completed at University of Wolverhampton

Newcastle students design and build new wildlife hide

RGU appoints NHS Grampian Deputy Director as Visiting Reader

Plymouth to research new drug treatment for dementia

Space to live and learn

HOK to Design New Kuwait University Campus buildings

Fit for purpose

Architecture students bring building back to the future

University of London's new multi-purpose facility completes

Boathouse complete for Cambridge colleges

Market place - view all

Leafield Environmental

A specialist range of recycling bins and litter bins for external a...

Huck nets

For over 50 years, the HUCK-Label has signified: - high-quality ne...

Buzzacott

We provide audit, accounting and advisory services to academies and...

Listen technologies

Listen Technologies brings power and clarity to the sounds that enr...

Compass

Compass Computer Consultants Ltd. has been designing and implement...

YourGuarantor

YourGuarantor provides UK Universities with an end to end facility ...