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  • Author: The Dementia Centre
  • Read time: 1 min. read


  • Dementia
  • 18 January 2024
  • Blog

A new way of seeing takes one provider ‘closer to better’ in dementia-enabling design

  • Author: The Dementia Centre
  • Read time: 1 min. read

David Izzard has worked for Calvary Health Care for over a decade and is now their National Executive Advisor - Aged Care, so he’s deeply familiar with the care homes under his watch.

But a couple of days in November offered him a new way of looking at those spaces, almost as if he has a fresh pair of glasses to sharpen his senses.

Practical steps for change

David went along to our Dementia Design School and said the experience has helped him consolidate what he already knew, expand his understanding, and turn it into practical steps for real change.

‘The real value lies in the opportunity to see the design principles and features in practice,’ said David.

‘Being able to walk around a dementia cottage and look at the space through different eyes allowed me to join the dots.

‘For example, I know it makes sense to have the bathroom in the line of sight from the bed but that’s not always the first consideration when we are fitting out new rooms - it’s so obvious when you see it.

‘Now I walk around our homes and look through the lens of “is this dementia-enabling?”. 
‘It’s an effective way to identify areas to improve, and there is a lot we can do without making a huge investment - it might be as simple as taking down a few posters to reduce clutter.’

Closer to better

David added that one philosophy really stood out to him.

‘The key takeaway for me from the Dementia Design School was the idea of ‘closer to better’ - not everything will be perfect, we can’t change everything,’ he said.

‘The key is to keep moving in the right direction.’

David appreciated that while the school takes a holistic approach, it then broke the ideas down into actions.

‘The Dementia Design School takes knowledge acquired over years of providing care for people with dementia and presents it in a simple format,’ David said.

Change is coming

Given the incoming National Aged Care Design Principles and Guidelines, now is the time for aged care providers to get ahead of any changes likely to be required.

But David said he is simply motivated by the people under their care living with dementia every day.

‘We all have to get better, and improving our capability and our environment is one way we can serve them better,’ he said, concluding with the warning, ‘If organisations don’t make dementia design thinking part of the day-to-day language, they’ll get left behind.

‘It’s ultimately about providing better care.'

We couldn’t agree more – because better care leads to better lives.


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