I’ve had the unfortunate experience of visiting a few care homes recently. My dad has vascular dementia and has needed respite care in a secure unit of a dementia home to recover from an operation.
Beyond the deeply upsetting nature of the homes, I’m fascinated by the architecture and design of the spaces. Here is the home that my dad is currently in:
The building is designed as a loop: internally it feels circular, it allows for a continual semi-cognisant drift. There is something profoundly tragic and almost cruel in allowing people to travel without ever reaching their intended (or impossible) destinations.
It reminded me of Loop Geography and Trap Rooms, the construction of an architecture to pacify and contain, forget and hide. They’ve built a psychological treadmill to allow for constant movement without interruption and restriction.
How are these structures designed? Do they come from an architectural consultation with Dementia experts?
An alternative, is Dementiaville. A dutch care village that constructs a different form of care. Instead of trapping the residents in an immovable now, they transport them to a fictional past. The ethics of this is complicated, but I know one thing, the now is not that great for these people. I wish my Dad was in Dementiaville.