More than half a million people in Canada are living with some form of dementia, and with an aging population across the world, this number is unfortunately set to rise.
Seeing a loved one struggle with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is never easy, and when it reaches a point where a person needs permanent residential care, the experience becomes so much harder.
The nature of dementia means that elderly people living with it often need a higher level of support than people in more typical residential care situations. Though the medical community’s understanding of these conditions has meant the standard of care is better than ever, there’s an unfortunate lack of residential facilities that are able to properly accommodate the needs of Alzheimer’s patients.
Bhaktraj Singh, an accomplished Toronto developer, and CEO of Hazelton Group, is one of the real estate leaders working to address the need for more Alzheimer’s residences in his city. Bhaktraj Singh, an experienced condo developer in the Burlington area, feels strongly about improving the quality of life for those suffering from degenerative conditions. His latest project Adora is a residential development dedicated to creating a comfortable and supportive environment for those living with Alzheimer’s.
Singh noted: “We’re seeing an increased demand for residences that can accommodate the needs of Alzheimer’s patients. With the aging population, more and more families are feeling overwhelmed as they try to find specialized care for their loved ones. Ontario developers should set their sights on Alzheimer's care facilities to accommodate this growing need and position themselves for the demands of the future real estate market.”
The Adora facility is designed specifically to accommodate those suffering with dementia and their caregivers, with simple, easy-to-navigate layouts, and safe spaces for various activities. Singh was keen to emphasize the importance of Alzheimer’s patients having days full of engaging activities that promote socialization and fun, meaningful experiences.
He explained the Adora facility would be designed to accommodate five key categories of activities to meet the needs of every resident, helping patients stay in the moment and mitigate the effects of their condition:
Aside from providing spaces for activities that help to stimulate memory, Bhaktraj Singh believes that the design of the facility itself can be a great help to people suffering from dementia.
“There have been huge leaps in architectural sensibilities when it comes to dementia care facilities”, explained Singh. “When we first got the ball rolling on Adora, it was very important to me that the residence was designed not only for comfortable living conditions but to facilitate the delivery of essential services.”
Some of the key priorities Singh cited for the design phase included:
Ease of Orientation
To help make wayfinding easier for residents at a care facility, it’s important for various spaces to be distinct in appearance, with unique and easily-recognizable landmarks to direct residents as they move from place to place.
Independence and Flexibility
Helping residents to maintain their personal autonomy as much as possible is great for their emotional well-being. Facilities must be built to accommodate mobility-assistance devices and help residents to control their own routines, flexibility, and sense of independence.
Sense of Safety
The cognitive impairments that come with Alzheimer’s disease and similar conditions can lead to feelings of paranoia or anxiety. To mitigate these symptoms, it’s essential that residential facilities are not only physically safe, but that residents perceive themselves to be in a safe environment. Handrails, night lighting, and sturdy, quality fences around outdoor spaces can all help in this area.
Physical design features that encourage visitation from loved ones can do wonders for a patient’s psychological health. This calls for facilities with small, private gathering spaces with movable furniture arrangements, sitting space in residents’ bedrooms, and similar accommodations.