App will assess dementia-friendliness of senior living communities

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Lesley Palmer is chief architect in the Dementia Services Development Center at the University of Stirling in Scotland.
Lesley Palmer is chief architect in the Dementia Services Development Center at the University of Stirling in Scotland.

An app designed to help make senior living communities and other settings more suitable for older adults and those with dementia should be ready for download by Sept. 21, World Alzheimer's Day, according to its developers.

Researchers in the Dementia Services Development Center at the University of Stirling in Scotland are developing the app in collaboration with construction experts at Space Group.

“This is a unique opportunity to revolutionize how we improve day-to-day life for older people and people living with dementia around the world,” said Lesley Palmer, chief architect at the center. “We are creating a simple way for anyone to assess how dementia-friendly their environment is, and find out how to improve their surroundings.”

The IRIDIS (Intelligence Research Iterative Design Interface System) app will digitally assess lighting, color contrast and noise and recommend changes that can be made to the environment — from changing a light bulb to reconfiguring a bathroom — in an effort to improve residents' quality of life and ability to live more independently. The data within the IRIDIS app also will make recommendations on property design and refurbishment for construction professionals. Senior living professionals, residents and their family members, construction experts and designers using the app will be asked answer questions about their surroundings and upload photographs that they take to the app.

A two-bedroom home will take approximately 20 minutes to assess, according to the developers.

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