Most recent figures show that there are currently around 900 000 people living with dementia in the UK. Medical professionals predict that this figure will rise to around 1.6 million in just 20 years’ time.

Due to the rapidly increasing diagnosis of the disease, Dementia is quickly becoming one of the most significant health concerns for our population. 

Dementia is an umbrella term for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia. The condition is mostly identifiable by its negative effect on the memory, but many may not realise that it can also significantly impair both vision and perception, causing confusion and posing risk of injury to the individual. An example of this would be a doormat by a front door, which may appear as a black hole to a dementia patient. 

Why are Dementia diagnoses becoming so common?

The increase can likely be put down to developments in health care leading to extended life expectancies of our generations.  

Average life expectancy has increased from 70 in the 1950s to 90 in 2022. While in many ways this is a positive, it also means that we must adapt to cope with the issues that come with reaching old age.

The NHS indicate that the following factors may impact the likelihood of developing the disease if they occur over prolonged periods of life:

  • Insufficient sleep
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Social isolation

The increased focus on health and wellbeing that we are now experiencing, is a relatively new concept outside of the medical profession. 

Longer working hours, labour-intensive employment, and less access to organic wholefoods were commonplace in older generations that are now reaching their later years. 

Considerations for paving care homes

The issues with vision and perception encountered by people living with Dementia can be triggered by uneven ground, or harshly contrasting colour schemes. 

The Equality Act and Building Regulations (Part M) makes provisions for people with dementia and lays out some specifics when it comes to paving care home facilities that can help to lower the risk to elderly residents. 

One of the key points focuses on the importance of consistent Light Reflection Values throughout the landscape design. 

LRV measures the amount of light that is reflected from a material when illuminated by a light source. The more light that is reflected, the higher the LRV. Paving systems with particularly high LRV would be checkerboard patterns with starkly contrasting colours or paving with sparkly flecks in the surface layer. 

As well as the paving finish, it is also important to consider continuous level routes, avoiding steps, and ensuring any ramps are of an acceptable gradient. 

Brett Landscaping’s paving solution for people living with Dementia 

Testing of Brett’s Alpha Flow permeable paving systems at our manufacturing plants in Kent and Dorset, showed that the LRV was consistent on individual colour ranges. It also revealed that the variance between all three colour ranges (Autumn Gold, Brindle and Charcoal) is ideally suited for dementia care facility projects. 

Alpha Flow in Charcoal and Brindle

 Brett’s Alpha Flow paving is widely used across the country where developers are looking to improve surface water drainage and prevent flooding. This further reduces risk of harm to residents due to the anti-slip qualities of this permeable solution.

Our Alpha Flow pavements are performing with up to 20 years of low maintenance service and are therefore a reliable and cost-effective investment into the wellbeing of the end user.

This solution is perfect for care home or assisted living projects due to its functionality for resident well-being, without compromise on the impressive aesthetic. Alpha Flow has a rustic and distinguished appearance that replicates traditional cobbles and setts, providing a prestigious finish. 

An additional benefit in using Alpha Flow, and other permeable options available at Brett is the natural filtration of rainwater that occurs when draining. This process removes pollutants, heavy metals, and microplastics, which are then broken down within the construction of the system. This provides a sustainable solution for the environment by feeding cleaner water back into the natural cycle. 

For further information on Alpha Flow, or any of our other products, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Brett Landscaping

Our team will be on hand to provide specialist advice on products suitable for public realm or specialist housing. For more information on the recommendations on all building design see alzheimers.org.uk.

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