Dementia treatment innovations

The building, which is located at the BRE Innovation Park in Watford, incorporates several innovative concepts and technologies to support individuals living with dementia. These range from simple inexpensive solutions to high tech innovations, all of which are based on proven academic research.

The house is open to the public, offering anyone with an interest in dementia care the opportunity to gather ideas, solutions and inspiration.

The house will also continue to provide invaluable data to the research team at Loughborough about how individuals interact with the technology and the day-to-day living patterns and routines of any inhabitants.

Features include

Clear lines of sight and use of colour through the home help guide people towards specific rooms and reduce the risk for slips and trips
Increased natural lighting, which has been shown to help people stay alert during the day and to sleep better at night
Noise reduction features, to reduce stress and agitation
A ‘talking cushion’ with inbuilt sensors to remind people to get up, walk around and get a drink because walking is beneficial for health and dehydration can cause cognitive problems
Homely, simple and familiar interior design to help promote rest and relaxation
Space to install a lift so the lounge does not become a bedroom when the stairs become difficult

One of the home’s more hi-tech features is an Acti-chair, which includes resistance bands with inbuilt sensors to guide strength, speed and direction of movement. The Acti-chair not only promotes physical well-being but also improves memory by encouraging repetition of exercise patterns.

As well as the hi-tech gadgets, the home is packed with simple, inexpensive solutions such as self-closing fridge doors, glass cabinets, simple switches, large clocks and furniture with no protruding corners to minimise injuries from falls.

Dementia House will be an invaluable tool for understanding numerous aspects of how people with dementia cope in an independent setting. Everything we learn will go into improving the lives of people with the condition.

Professor Eef Hogervorst Loughborough Dementia Research Lead Academic