Category Archives: Care homes

Design for All, New angles on senior citizens – unique seminar 25th FEB!

HERE WE GO! Finally focus on residential homes – gotta go! 

Design for all hosts a unique afternoon seminar

One of the greatest challenges that today’s Western societies face is their radical demographic change resulting from the expanding human lifespan. Therefore innovation is required from the professionals, politicians and the older people themselves. Get some inspiration and join the debate with three unique presenters.

Participation fee is 500 DKK (can’t really afford it but it is such an important focus area, that I can’t miss it!)

Download the program on the website

Date and time
25 February 2014 – 13:30 – 16:00
 Design Society , H.C. Andersens Boulevard 27, 1553 Copenhagen V

Hogewey – a way to live happily ever after???

‘We’ve found that when a resident is placed in the wrong social lifestyle, they quickly become unhappy…’ 

What is the first thing that runs through your mind when you read a quote like this?

I was attacked by anger, shame and sadness because that is exactly what we are offering our elderly, my grandmother, all the people who doesn’t have the change to spend their last days in a place like the Dutch village Hogewey! There are a lot to say about Hogewey, people has pros and cons but Ill stick to my main interest and focus on the interior design and how it affects people.

 Ill shortly introduce you to the Hogewey idea that began 20 years ago. A strong debate about whether or not dementia-people should live without locks, in their own homes and do the same things they did before their illness took hold of them.

One of the founders, Yvonne van Amerongen, was convinced that life in an ordinary care home was not living, but a kind of dying! That wasn’t how she wanted to spend her last days, so she and her co-founders, asked themselves; “How would we want lo live?” The result was Hogewey – a village with several lifestyle options, a place where you are able to identify with your way of living and with the people around you!

Welcome to Hogewey a SPOT ON place, not only to spend, but also to LIVE the last days of your life!

Remember the photos of my grandmothers care setting???? – Do I have to say more!?

This is exactly what I am trying to address!!!

The importance of creating a feeling of a familiar life to instil calm and peace, reduced stress and increased wellbeing!

We have the knowledge from several numbers of studies, from many different scientific perspectives – all of them result in the same conclusion – the architecture, the interior design, the surroundings affect peoples health and wellbeing! So who has the responsibility to use the knowledge and change the way our elderly live and give them the best for their last days of living!? And what are you – we waiting for?

When I look at the photos, they remind me of my grandmothers real home – when I went to the residential home it reminded me of the canteen at work!  It could be so easy to change the setting; a change that, NO DOUBT, will make such a huge difference!

In Hogewey; …the homes of the Indonesian residents are decorated with flourishes of their indigenous culture: pictures and colours of their other homeland…the garden is set in the Eastern style – suitable for prayer and meditation – right down to a large stone bust of Buddha in the bushes. The ‘city dwellers’ have homes with a typical Dutch urban look: modern, uncluttered, with shelves of books, papers and music”

I know that the answer probably is lack of resources, lack of money! But according to Yvonne they haven’t spend more money on Hogwey than on her former ordinary home!

Why not cooperate with second hand shops and private people who doesn’t have the resources to empty relatives homes when they pass away – they pay people to empty houses like that, don’t you think they would love to donate furnitures to a care home???

Am I the only one who gets really upset and ashamed on behalf of the public-system? 


Non-institutional interior!

Gives our elderly an increased appetite for food and LIFE!!!

Quote from A.Boa presentation

Quote from the Danish Architect Ane Boa´s presentation at

Follow my blog and share your ideas, perceptions and experiences – Ill soon post more interesting stuff on this topic!

Residential home – the opposite of home?

Hmm but they call it residential home!?

By looking at the photos from my grandmothers residential home its hard to get a glance of a HOME, do you agree? So, how do we make our elderly feel more at home? My answer is INTERIOR DESIGN! I know that no matter what, its not possible to make a copy of my grandmas real home, BUT no doubt – it is possible, and should be the content of the definition of a residential homethat a residential home is a place offering our elderly a so-close-to-home alike environment with a nice and warm atmosphere, a place where they can feel safe and identify themselves in what surrounds them! My grandma never owned a white laminate and steel dinner table!!

What does the research say? 

Anjali Joseph, Ph.D., Director of Research at The Center for Health Design in California did a research back in 2006 to assess the relationship between physical environmental factors and resident and staff outcomes in different types of long-term-care settings. The research was based on more than 250 peer reviewed journal articles within architecture, nursing, psychology, and psychiatry. Her key findings were – physical environment have an impact both on patients, their family, and the staff! Especially showing in the residents quality of life, the residents feeling of safety, and staff stress . 

Surprise it doesn’t chock me! What chocks me or better, what makes me so embarrassed and angry is that, it seems like (at least in Denmark) that nobody is taken that knowledge into account and done something about! I know that private homes have a tendency to do a much better job when it comes to interior and environmental factors, but lets face it, the majority of the elderly in Denmark end up in our public cares settings!

I can refer to a bunch of studies, but if nobody is acting on it – whats the value?

With the knowledge of a world wide population getting older and older, we are facing an increase of the elderly population with a need for care settings – care settings that actually takes care of them, not only in meeting their visible needs but also there “invisible” needs like offering them caring environments designed to promote their well being! It is like that in Denmark and I just read, in the mentioned research report by Anjali Joseph, that they estimate by year 2030, nearly 150 million Americans will have a chronic condition and consequently a need for quality long-term care (Joseph, 2006:2).

Ill end tonights post with this quote from an article published in Seniors Housing Update August 2008 from Gerontology research centre. It speaks for itself!!

“Many residents complained that they did not know where they should go because there were so many identical tables. In addition, their furniture and finishing gave an institutional ambience (e.g., furniture were mainly made of metal frames and vinyl covers, linoleum flooring), that added confusion and disorientation for residents with dementia. The dining rooms in River Rock Manor were quieter as a result of fewer people and smaller size.They had homelike features (e.g., cabinetry, cooking oven, fireplace, colorful curtains and furniture made of wood and fabrics), that helped to make the place familiar for residents to eat”.

Wanna enjoy your golden age here??

Sorry, but I´d rather die than getting locked up in a place like this!
I would simply turn in to a grumpy and depressed old lady! 

Take a look at these photos, do you recognize how your grandparents used to sit in the warm and welcoming “lounge”? How does it make you feel thinking your grandparents, parents or maybe yourself possible (hopefully not) will end your days in surroundings like this?

I´ll start this debate by telling a short story about my meeting with residential homes in Denmark. My mum was working in a residential home since I was newborn until I turned 25, which means I, in many ways, kicked off my life there! BUT, as far as I remember the place looked like, and the atmosphere felt like being at my grandparents house with old furnitures, wallpaper, carpets, small sconces, long and heavy curtains and fluffy often home crocheted pillows in different brownish and orange patterns. Unfortunately (in this context), it seems like, times has changed big time! In Denmark everything has turned into be so minimalistic, even at the residential homes they have peeled of the textile from the armchairs, if you are lucky the chairs have “arms”! It seems like the people (who I still really don’t know who are) don’t think about or simply forget who the residents are. I have to stress that I have also been at homes for elderly anno 2014, where the interior design was spot on! Unfortunately I have a feeling that it isn’t the tendency, what do you think?

I was chocked the day my grandmother moved into, what it actually was, her last home! HOME!?? ! “Naked” white walls, no colors, no fluffy pillows, old furnitures, cozy curtains – no nothing!! BUT SIGNS! Hmm, I don’t remember my grandma used to put up signs! The interior design in this so called home couldn’t be more far from where my grandma came from. What I want to address here is the lack of thoughts behind the interior design in the common areas! Behind her own door she was aloud to bring almost all here own furnitures (but still white walls and dazzling ceiling lights). How dare we offer our elderly surroundings like this and call it a home?

Ill soon bring summaries from studies, links and articles addressing the link between interior design, health and wellbeing!

%d bloggers like this: