Redesigning care homes to improve the wellbeing of people with dementia

Research project: Reinventing the spatial organisation of dementia care homes: Can narrative design provide meaningful environments for dementia care home residents?

Lead Investigator: Professor Catherine Hennessy

  • Institution: University of Stirling
  • Grant type: PhD Studentship
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Amount: £89,949,00

Why did we fund this research?

Comment from one of our Research Network volunteers:

'The narrative design to make the environment interesting and meaningful could greatly enhance experience and happiness in the care home situation.'

Project summary

Prof Hennessy and her will work with people living with dementia to produce a care home design which combines the environmental and sensory stimulation features.

The team will look at how this affects the experiences of residents, staff and family members.


We know that care home environments can greatly impact the quality of life of the residents, many of whom have dementia.  

Previous research has suggested that using elements of the environment improve the memory of people with dementia and help them navigate around the care home.

Creating environments that stimulate different senses can help the functioning, wellbeing and communication.  Little research has been done on the effects of combining these practices however.

What does this project involve?

Professor Hennessy and her team will investigate existing care homes that incorporate environmental and sensory stimulation elements, both evaluating their design and understanding the experiences of residents, staff and family members. The researchers will then work with people living with dementia and together produce an effective care home design. 

By creating a care home design alongside people affected by dementia, this project can improve care homes of all different sizes and costs. 

How will this research help people affected by dementia?

This initiative has the potential to improve the well-being of people living with dementia, as well as relationships between care home residents, their families and staff.  

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