this wardrobe is designed especially for elders with dementia to help them with the dressing process
height Reduction and Access According to research by Renray Healthcare, the average height of a person in care is 5 ft 3 ins. This makes traditional wardrobe heights inaccessible, a state of affairs compounded by age-related stiffness and other physical ailments. A significant proportion of residents will also be in a wheelchair at some point. Full-height wardrobes contain many inaccessible features based purely on the height. Lower areas can be just as inaccessible for older people. The wardrobe has been split into daily use (the doors) and seasonal use (the bottom drawers). The latter is explained further below. colour and Material A combination of two contrasting materials helps those with sight problems to under- stand where to interact with the product. Use of good quality hardwood laminates creates variations in surface texture; they are also hygienic, easy to maintain. Oversized handles The oversized handle is a good example of the chosen aesthetic, its size and prominence suggesting its function. Heavily contrasted against the white background, the handle is easily visible for those with sight loss. Reaching from top to bottom allows both taller residents and those in wheelchairs the same access point. As the one main point of interaction, the handle is made of hardwood to achieve a quality feel. 4. 5. 6. content visible Drawers Signs on drawers are evident in current homes and offer many benefits, even though residents, family members and carers suggested that this approach might be stig- matising. A new drawer front, which shows the drawer’s contents whilst remaining as similar to a standard drawer design as possible, gives the person cues to the whereabouts of specific items of clothing while making the signage redundant. personalisation Personalisation should exist in as many places as possible to give comfort, enable communication and assist in identifying ownership. Having pictures of loved ones, hobbies and other topics relating to a person’s personal history placed on the wardrobe will help residents recognise that the possessions they are interacting with are their own. Out-of-season storage It is important not to confuse residents with too many clothing choices. In this wardrobe, summer and winter clothing areas have been separated to reduce choice. Out-ofseason clothes are able to be stored on site by designing the drawers to be naturally inaccessible for residents. Placing the drawers low, to the back and with no environmental cues as to operation, limits access without the need for a lock or to store them in an offsite location.
low-tech IlluminationIllumination is important because it assists the older eye to see better. It also highlights areas of interaction by providing better contrast. This is an area of focus for some wardrobe developments for dementia and is usually met by an electric-powered light to intensify the light. Low-tech solutions should be used wherever possible to cut down on cost and maintenance. Here, the design allows environmental light to penetrate the wardrobe more deeply. clothes Display hangersSpecialised hangers have been developed so that whole outfits can be stored on one hanger. The design is different from traditional hangers by allowing hangers to be hung off one another. Hanging complete outfits together makes storage and selection of clothing easier for res-idents and carers alike, and enables residents to recognise and choose an oufit for themselves. clothing Display hookWhen the time comes that a person needs assistance in dressing, it is good care practice to give the resident two choices. Carers currently lay clothes out on a bed for residents to make a decision. A carer can now hang two options on display hooks in combination with the specialised hangers on the white background of the front doors. This enables the resident to see how the clothes would look in a vertical layout and at the right scale without the need to conceptualise clothes stacked on a bed. Clothes hanging up in a ready-to-wear format may help a resident in an advanced-stage of dementia anticipate the activity that is about to take place.