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Tips for Creating Dementia Friendly Spaces from an Interior Designer.

Imagine trying to navigate in the world when you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to be doing next. Your brain isn’t clear, patterns and colours seem overwhelming, and you have an overcoming feeling of losing something. These are all feelings people living with dementia can feel each day.

Dementia affects many people worldwide, causing memory loss, confusion, and difficulty communicating. As the global population ages, creating dementia-friendly spaces has become increasingly important.

Creating dementia-friendly spaces requires empathy, understanding, and thoughtful design.

– Kerry McGregor, certified Aging in Place specialist

Dementia-friendly spaces can significantly impact the quality of life for people living with dementia. Well-designed environments can:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve direction finding and wayfinding
  • Enhance social interaction and engagement
  • Support Memory recognition
  • Support independence and autonomy
  • Promote a sense of calm and comfort
Origin Morning Star House Interiors

Origin Morning Star House Interiors

Origin Morning Star House Interiors

Dementia Friendly Design Principles

  1. Be Simple and Intuitive Clear signage, minimal clutter, and straightforward layouts help navigate the space.
  2. Contrasting Colours and Lighting High-contrast colors and adequate lighting help individuals with visual impairments.
  3. Comforting and Familiar Environments Incorporate familiar objects, textures, and scents to create a sense of comfort and familiarity.
  4. Acoustic Comfort Minimize background noise and use sound-absorbing materials to reduce auditory overload.
  5. Accessible and Adaptable Spaces Flexible seating, multiple counter heights, wheelchair accessibility, and adaptable furniture support diverse needs.
Origin Morning Star House Interiors

Origin Morning Star House Interiors

Kerry's Top Tips

  1. Use Clear and Simple Signage Avoid complex language and use visual icons like pictures and symbols.
  2. Incorporate Natural Light Natural light boosts mood and helps regulate circadian rhythms.
  3. Add Biophilic Elements Water features, plants, and scenic artwork can create a soothing atmosphere.
  4. Minimize Clutter Keep surfaces clear and organized to reduce visual overwhelm.
  5. Involve People with Dementia Engage individuals with dementia in the design process to ensure spaces meet their needs.

Creating dementia-friendly spaces requires empathy, understanding, and thoughtful design. By incorporating these principles and tips, we can build supportive environments that enhance the lives of individuals living with dementia, promoting inclusivity, comfort, and well-being for all.

Kerry McGregor


For the past 17 years Kerry McGregor has been spearheading the Design & Development department at Origin Active Lifestyle Communities – A Canadian Operator and Developer in the Senior Living sector.

Kerry is a passionate professional who cares about improving the lives of seniors. Through research, trial and error and hands on experience, Kerry is an expert in the built environment when it comes to older adults. She incorporates innovative design solutions and technology to support people living with dementia. Kerry is involved from the initial conceptual stages of every project to the finishing touches at the time of completion.

Kerry is a certified Aging in Place specialist, completed training through the National Home Builders Association (NAHB). She has worked alongside top Interior Designers, and Architects around the Globe.  Kerry graduated from the Interior Design Program at Sheridan College in 2004. She continues to be active in her community by advocating for Seniors as the Vice-Chair of the Burlington Seniors Advisory Committee