The Effect Of Environmental Design And Sensory Stimulation On People With Alzheimer'S Disease: An Exploratory Study Of The Family Visit Program
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and fatal brain disorder that causes cognitive decline and eventual loss of the ability to interact and communicate with others. Family involvement and interaction have been shown to have many therapeutic benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease. However, the decline in cognitive ability and communication skills makes it particularly challenging for family members to have fulfilling and engaging visits. The Family Visit Program (FVP) aims to study the effect of the physical environment and sensory stimulation on the quality of visits using four treatments: existing furniture onsite, a conversation booth, a photo album, and a digital picture frame and stand. The conversation booth was designed as an ergonomic seating unit that helps focus attention by reducing visual and acoustic distractions. The digital picture frame and book-style photo album are intended to serve as the display mediums for the source of stimulation, personally meaningful photographs. The use of existing furniture in the setting is to compare the impact the design intervention has on the quality of interaction. The research was conducted at Beechtree Care Center, a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Ithaca, NY. The study includes three groups of participants: residents, family members, and staff. Original data are collected and analyzed from video recordings, interviews with all participants, and researcher field notes. The goal is to contribute understanding of how to design an environment and therapeutic sensory intervention that facilitates communication with family members and supports the physical and cognitive needs of people with Alzheimer's disease.
Design Environment; Alzheimers Disease; Sensory Stimulation
Eshelman, Paul Edwin
Becker, Franklin David
M.A. of Design
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis