Work has begun on Care UK's latest ground-breaking nursing home, which will provide residential and dementia care for 90 residents.
As well as expert care, the home on Redford Road, Edinburgh, will bring around 80 new jobs to the area, and local residents will also benefit from a woodland area near the development which Care UK has helped to support.
The home has been designed by Richard Pollock, of Edinburgh-based practice Burnett Pollock Associates, who is also the Dementia Services Development Centre's Director of Architecture at the University of Stirling. Richard is an international expert in creating buildings that help people with dementia to lead calm, happy and fulfilled lives.
He has worked with his wife Annie, a landscape architect who creates gardens designed for people with dementia, to create a home and grounds that are beautiful, functional and homely.
People with dementia can find large spaces and noise intimidating, so the design of both the home and grounds reflects a domestic setting. The 90 rooms are separated into nine self-contained ‘flats’, each with a kitchen and dining room rather than one large communal canteen.
Recent research has show that a calm and homely environment encourages residents to eat, whereas large noisier environments can be distracting, and even distressing, to someone with dementia.
The grounds too are kept intimate by the use of trellises, sheds and gazebos to break up the space. Washing lines have also been incorporated into the designs to make the grounds feel like home.
People with dementia often find walking comforting and calming, so the gardens have interesting walkways and the home’s exterior has terraces which add to the sense of openness and freedom. These encourage residents to walk in the open air, exposing them to sunshine which produces vitamin D, crucial to maintaining bone health in older people.
The team has designed the home to provide a wide range of facilities in an accessible way, incorporating residents’ interests and memories while building confidence and maintaining independence.
The home will include:
- Fireplaces in lounges (so that they more closely reflect a family home)
- ‘Retro’ fittings such as old-style telephones or ornaments from the 1940s to 1960s (residents often recognise these items from their former homes)
- Smaller dining rooms, separate from the lounge areas (so that residents have a sense that it is time for a meal)
- Large windows (flooding the rooms with light) and
- Clear signage (to help residents to move around with confidence)
As well as retro features, the home will include modern facilities such as a spa, cinema and hairdressers as well as space for crafts, activities and fitness programmes.
Richard said: "As an architect, it is a delight to be working with a client that is totally committed to providing a building that represents best practice in design for dementia care".
"It cannot be overestimated just how important a well-designed environment is to the health and wellbeing of people with dementia"
The home is close to transport networks and shops. Care UK hopes that the home will become a focus for the community; local people and their relatives with dementia can use the grounds and facilities to enjoy stress-free outings with their families, while the home’s residents can visit local amenities.
Lynda Appleby, Operational Projects Director, said: “Our dementia specialists have carried out a great deal of research into helping older people maintain their independence within our homes. We have found that by making homes as ‘homely’ as possible, providing lots of natural light and letting residents choose the lifestyles and activities they want, we can improve levels of well-being by up to 40 per cent. This has led to residents enjoying greater levels of mobility, increased socialising with other residents and developing and pursuing their own interests and hobbies.”
“Working with Richard and his team has greatly added to our understanding and I am convinced this home will offer the very best in dementia care to residents.”
Care UK operates 85 residential homes in England and Scotland. It was awarded residential care provider of the year in the recent Health Investor Awards, at which judges praised “its excellent track record in providing good quality, innovative care.”