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Building Products July 2017

FLOORS AND FLOOR COVERINGS JULY 2017 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 53 KEEP IT SIMPLE According to Tom Rollo, sight loss in people living with dementia should be a consideration when choosing a floorcovering for healthcare projects. Affecting an estimated 850,000 people in the UK, dementia is a terminal illness involving the ongoing and irreversible death of brain cells, which is not a normal part of ageing. The condition often affects memory, language, understanding, thinking and the ability for daily activities to be carried out. There is also a strong link with dementia and the development of reduced vision, and one in three people with dementia will have significant sight loss. Someone who has a combination of both dementia and sight loss may experience reduced visual functioning, or perception, due to the neurological changes that are going on in the brain. This can lead to issues with depth and colour perception, heightened glare sensitivity and loss of visual acuity. Medical experts are now recognising the importance of interior design in healthcare and residential care facilities for contributing to the positive wellbeing of people living with dementia and those with affected vision. Flooring is a key aspect which can work effectively alongside other elements such as signage, lighting and acoustics in an intelligent, carefully planned and inclusive healthcare design scheme which will help people feel more at ease in their surroundings. Taking into account the difficulties that people with dementia can experience in relation to their sight, there are many aesthetic factors to consider when choosing a vinyl floorcovering for a dementia-friendly space. The first piece of advice would be to keep the flooring choice simple, avoiding busy patterns, logos or contrasting colours which can lead to sensory overload and confusion. For example, a bold design may be visually appealing to the specifier and staff working at the facility, however through the eyes of someone with dementia the design can be distracting and disorientating. Other design features often seen in floorcoverings can also easily be misinterpreted by Continued on page 54 >>>


Building Products July 2017
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