Eye-catching ground signs and rest areas designed to prevent residents with dementia in Yio Chu Kang from getting lost

02 Dec 2023

Lianhe Zaobao, 2 Dec 2023, 设计醒目地面标识与休息区 杨厝港失智居民不怕迷路
(summarised translation)
From activity corners suitable for people with dementia to simple road signs and ground markings, Yio Chu Kang collects feedback from residents on the living environment to create the first local dementia-friendly neighbourhood based on community research to assist residents with dementia to age in place in their neighbourhood.
After Yio Chu Kang District was selected as the first pilot area for the Dementia Friendly Neighbourhood Study in 2019, grassroots organisations collaborated with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), the Centre for Liveable Cities and the Singapore University of Technology and Design, to conduct surveys within the area, to examine the links between people living with and caring for those with dementia and the built environment, to design dementia-friendly infrastructure.
The study collected feedback from more than 100 Yio Chu Kang residents, including dementia patients and caregivers, through field observations and community workshops to understand what kind of infrastructure can better meet their needs.
The team built an activity space called "Blue Court" next to Block 646, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6. The space has devices suitable for patients with dementia to help them exercise their cognitive and physical abilities, and also provide them with a space to communicate and cultivate the "kampung spirit".
Another added piece of infrastructure are ground signs and rest areas called "buoys". These ground signages are based on a simple graphic design and uses a single color tone to allow dementia patients with cognitive impairment to rest and check directions in a calm and safe environment.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Yio Chu Kang Grassroots Organisation advisor Mr Yip Hon Weng officially unveiled these dementia-friendly neighbourhood facilities at the "Yio Chu Kang Day" event on Saturday (December 2). The research team also released a study report and design guidelines for dementia-friendly neighbourhoods, with the aim of helping other town councils and town planners build more dementia-friendly neighbourhoods across the island in the future.
Dementia-friendly neighbourhoods focus on the renovation of physical facilities to cater for patients and their care needs
Chong Keng Hua, associate professor of architecture and sustainable design at SUTD who led the study, said that the difference between dementia-friendly neighbourhoods and previously launched dementia-friendly communities is the focus on the transformation of neighbourhood hardware facilities to cater for the needs of patients and caregivers. The reason for collecting feedback from residents is that the team realised that past theories mainly came from the West, which is very different from Singapore's built environment.
He said: "For example, we find that many buildings in the West are very monotonous in colour, so when designing for patients with dementia, we pay attention to using different colours. However, Singapore’s buildings already have many colours. If more colours are added, it might be confusing for them. This was something we realised by collecting feedback from residents and thinking about how to ensure the space would not have too much visual stimulation, such as using a single colour palette."