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Attentive to the needs of dementia sufferers

Designs use a range of techniques to help psychological understanding of care home living.

30th March 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Manchester, United Kingdom


Manchester, UK-based contract fabrics supplier Bespoke by Evans has pioneered a new collection aimed at supporting care home residents suffering with dementia

Approved by Stirling University’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), the company’s new flame retardant fabric collection is one of the first to meet independent testing standards and has been awarded dementia-friendly ratings for use in curtains, upholstery, cushions and accessories.

The Stirling Collection’s designs are supported by over 25 years of academic and best-practice research by the DSDC. The five accredited designs use a range of techniques to help psychological understanding of care home living, orientation and navigation including colour contrasts to break up and connect spaces together, the avoidance of ‘busy’ repetitive layouts, a erception of colour and contrast by the ageing eye and the familiarity of generation-appropriate modern florals.

“The new collection by Bespoke by Evans comprises five complimentary designs which have been specifically produced with dementia design principles in mind,” said Lucy Hutchinson, senior interior designer at the DSDC. “The Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at the University of Stirling has carried out a product accreditation assessment on the collection and found that all five designs/colourways are suitable for use within areas used by people with dementia. Strong pattern and significant tonal contrast within a pattern may be visually overstimulating and as a result cause distress for some people with dementia. Whilst none of the designs are totally plain, the patterns featured are relatively subtle due to the colours of the elements making-up the patterns being quite close tonally. This has resulted in the creation of a collection which provides pattern in a homely and familiar way whilst successfully avoiding strong colour contrast within each pattern.”

According to recent data, there are currently around 900,000 people with dementia in the UK. This number is expected to rise sharply to 1.6 million by 2040 as people continue to live longer. Currently, around one in every 14 over-65’s may have a form of dementia. Everyday behaviours such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning are disrupted and within care environments, navigation, wellbeing and comfort remain a key priority and soft furnishings throughout a care home should support people living with dementia.

“We’re delighted to become one of the first and only suppliers of approved fabric designs which have been independently reviewed and approved by one of the UK’s leading authorities of dementia care,” said Beth Lewin, head designer at Bespoke by Evans. “Interior designers, architects, building standards agencies, care commissioning bodies and practitioners can now enjoy added peace of mind knowing that our fabric designs not only comply with necessary legislative requirements for flame retardancy, but the designs are proven to support wellbeing and encourage a safer environment for residents within care.”

 “Not every fabric design is the same, nor is every resident’s need, and that’s why we encourage a collaborative approach to care home interior design. Our aim is to develop products that really make a difference. Unfortunately, not every fabric design sold by suppliers will be fit-for-purpose and we recommend those working in care home interior design to seek accredited products or bespoke solutions to ensure care home environments meet the end-user requirements, including wayfinding and the avoidance of distress.”

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