During the Care & Dementia Environments conference in March, Alessandro Caruso, co-founder of Alessandro Caruso Architects and Interiors and Nicola Taylor, head of care services, Abbeyfield, discussed the collaborative design of Fern House, an extra care development in West Yorkshire
Caruso opened the presentation entitled ‘The five languages of care’ by referring to the findings of Dan Buettner as discussed in the TED talk, which is available online, entitled ‘How to live to be 100+’. During the talk, Buettner illustrates how culture and traditions contribute to longevity in five zones across the world: Okinawa in Japan; Nicoya in Costa Rica; Icaria in Greece; Loma Linda in California; and Sardinia in Italy. All the centenarians interviewed had in common the following: simple lifestyle choices; an understanding of their purpose in life; and a sense of community.
Taylor took the audience through the things that were considered critical to residents by asking: “How can the environment created support a meaningful and purposeful life for the residents of Fern House?” Unanimous was the idea that the space had to be welcoming and homely. They wanted colour, artwork to promote conversation and a variety of spaces in which to socialise or be alone.
Caruso introduced the Abbeyfield development, which has six storeys and includes 49 extra care flats, 30 dementia friendly bedrooms, a day centre and associated communal facilities. The development was the winner in the residential category at the RICS Awards 2018 and was long-listed for a European Healthcare Design 2018 award in the interior design and art category.
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