Health
Noise pollution

Exploring a dementia friendly home

Olof Jonsdottir
Ólöf Jónsdóttir
30 January 2019

Find out how noise affects people with dementia, and how we can better support them at home.

Man setting with shoes

In the UK, approximately 850,000 people suffer from dementia. By 2025, this number is predicted to grow to a million.

At present, 70-80 percent of sufferers continue to live in their own homes rather than in specialist care homes, but many people feel unequipped to care for a loved one with dementia. Together with the growing number of sufferers, this has huge implications for family finances and healthcare budgets, as more and more people are predicted to move into care facilities.

Approximately
0

people in the UK suffer from dementia.

Rather than living in any specialised form of housing,
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of sufferers continue to live in their own homes.

This is where dementia-friendly housing comes in. Developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and Longborough University, a newly-renovated property on the BRE’s Innovation Park aims to uncover solutions for people to age well at home, as well as to promote independent living for people suffering from dementia. 

The 100 sqm Victorian home incorporates a number of features that benefit dementia sufferers. For example, it includes colour coded paths for guidance throughout the property, increased natural lighting, automatically controlled ventilation, and simple switches and controls. 

Most notably, the house also makes use of stone wool’s acoustic insulation properties to reduce the effects of noise pollution and unidentified sounds within the building. Noise can trigger the symptoms of dementia, so building acoustic measures into the fabric of a home makes a real difference for sufferers and their carers.

89% of the people surveyed believe their productivity decreases with noise pollution

Watch and learn more about noise pollution & acoustics

In particular, health problems due to unwanted noise range from hearing problems to a dramatic rise in blood pressure as noise levels constrict the arteries (1). For dementia patients, a poor acoustic environment can lead to feelings of exclusion and confusion (2). This is because people with dementia have a reduced ability to understand their sensory environment, and when noise proves to be overstimulating, they may be prone to agitation or try to remove themselves from the situation (3).

The link between noise pollution and mental health is not one that is often considered within the built environment. However, proper noise control can be extremely beneficial to our health and well-being, and this project demonstrates how buildings can be adapted to create a more peaceful environment - and ultimately to help dementia suffer to stay in the familiar and comforting surroundings of their own home for as long as possible.

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