Town Planning: Think About People Living With Dementia in Your Town
When it comes to designing a town or city, one needs to think about the occupants of the town and how the various structures, streets and amenities contribute to improving their quality of life. One of the things that you should take into consideration is how the town's design affects people living with dementia. These are people whose thinking capacity has significantly reduced, and they tend to forget things often. A complex town design can frustrate such individuals as they will find it hard to manoeuvre the streets and access buildings. That's why you need to follow these tips to ensure that your town design is suitable for people living with dementia and other mental disabilities.
Design familiar structures
Town planning involves a lot of building and renovating of public and commercial structures. As you design, think about constructing structures in such a way that their function is made obvious even to someone who's not familiar with the town. People who tend to forget things will easily remember structures whose design and colours resonate with a particular function. Any changes made to the style should be minimal and incremental—avoid drastic changes as they can throw a dementia patient into confusion. Ensure that there are large, clear writing on public amenities such as hospitals, clinics and schools so that people can easily identify them.
Label streets clearly
One of the challenges that people living with dementia face is forgetting street names and locations. This can be quite frustrating for someone, and as a town planner, you need to protect the occupants from these frustrations. Design short and narrow streets with clear signage and proper lighting. If possible, you can use various landmarks and hardscapes to distinguish the streets. These include trees, street furniture and stone carvings. It is easy for one to remember a structure on a street that it would be to memorize the name of the street.
Provide easy access to amenities
Every town is required to have facilities such as clinics and hospitals, banks, a post office, supermarket and local stores. These are the places that people frequent on a daily, and they should be within reach. Ensure that you promote easy accessibility by placing these amenities within walking distances. The nearest bank should not be located downtown as this will make it hectic for users. Also, make sure that the entrances conform to the disabled access regulations to make it easy for the disabled and elderly to access these facilities.
Proper town planning should take into account the physically and mentally disabled members of the community. Doing so will ensure that every town occupant gets equal access to public and private facilities.