DESIGNING FOR DEMENTIA

Eef Hogervorst, Bill Halsall, Sue Hignett, Malcolm Cook, David Kelly

Abstract


Dementia is an increasing problem worldwide because of an ageing population. The costs of dementia are staggering. In 2018, they were estimated at $1 trillion worldwide, which is more than the costs of cancer and heart disease combined. Most of the costs are for informal care, to be carried by people with dementia and their family, who take care of them and have to reduce their own productivity as a resulti . High costs are also encountered when carers have burn-out and/or are no longer able to take care of the person with dementia, resulting in institutionalisation. Understandably, older people prefer to stay at home. Research from Maastricht University iihas shown that older people with dementia and their carers also spend most of their time at home. Home needs to be a safe space, to optimise independent living, keep active and engaged, experience well-being and prevent falls. The risk for falls is doubled with dementia, because of changes in gait and contrast perceptioniii . Once older people have falls resulting in fractures, their risk for reduced mobility, prolonged hospitalisation, institutionalisation and mortality increases significantly. Preventing falls in older people, particularly in those with dementia, is thus of the essence.

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