MARCH 2020

Some of our staff are taking part in the Understanding Dementia MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). The course is run by the University of Tasmania and the Wicking Dementia Research & Education Centre.

Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people in our country and across the world. Recent statistics from Dementia Australia indicate that approximately 459,000 Australians live with dementia today. 

Anam Cara Memory Support Home. Bray Park, QLD

One of our experienced graduates, Jonathan Chew, is leading the discussion within our studios. When asked why he’s interested in taking the course, he says that without learning the fundamentals, one can get lost in the application without an understanding of why. “There’s a vast array of experiences within the office when it comes to dementia design,” he claims. “Many of the staff have developed some understanding of dementia design principles – whether through project involvement or hearing from others. But I think it’s important to get back to basics and unpack some of the decisions that we make as designers.”

He also mentions the opportunity to dispel false ideas of the syndrome. “Because some diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s are quite well known, there is often a misunderstanding about what they are. For instance, I’ve had some interesting conversations with friends that have started with talking about what sort of architecture I work in and have ended in a basic what and why discussion around dementia.”

The Village by Scalabrini. Drummoyne, NSW

We’ve been involved in designing residential care facilities built specifically for people living with dementia. Some examples include The Village by Scalabrini and Wesley Mission Queensland‘s Anam Cara Memory Support Homes. Similarly, our involvement with organisations such as The Dementia Centre enable projects like these to be developed based upon best practice dementia design principles.

If you’re interested in joining us and over 22,000 other people around the world, you can register here: www.mooc.utas.edu.au