Creating environments for purposeful wandering for people with Alzheimer’s in assisted living communities

Garima Gupta
ARC620 | Fall 2019

Alzheimer’s is a disease that slowly deteriorates human memory and the ability to perform simple tasks. It is projected that about 14 million people will suffer from Alzheimer’s in 2050 (Hebert, E., Weuve, A., Scherr, A., & Evans, A, 2013) which is a huge demographic change and must be addressed with importance. The focus of this research is primarily on people who suffer from Alzheimer’s in the early stages of late-onset disease type and who are living in assisted living communities to receive constant care. Behaviors and responses of people were studied and the most common behavior that is exhibited by 60% of the patients is wandering (Alzheimer’s Association). Wandering may be very dangerous for people as many people who wander alone are lost, confused, injured and, even die from harsh weather conditions and other safety risks (Patients at Risk for Wandering, VA National Center).

This research was constructed using experiences of the caregivers and understanding the behavioral patterns of wandering among older adults in assisted living facilities and interpreted those into the design recommendation to create environments for purposeful wandering within the facility. Many physical and environmental features signage, lighting, the layout of the building, graphics and color were considered and the behaviors to each of these components were studied based on the data collected by many physicians, therapists, and care-givers.