Apartment for life: An apartment designed specifically for people with Alzheimer’s

Throughout the first day of the 30th International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International in Perth, Australia, one of the things that caught my eye was Max and Barbara’s Apartment for Life.

This space was designed as a fully equiped one bedroom/one bathroom apartment with living room, dining room, studio and patio.  

Every single element in this place had a meaning or a reason to be there, being the main one to bring well-being into Max and Barbara’s lives. (A lovely fictional couple created by the design team, Max being the one living with Alzheimer’s and Barbara being his wife and carer).

All of the objects and design decisions not only were adapted to Max’s needs, condition, type/level of dementia and symptoms, but also to Max and Barbara’s likes, preferences, favourite activities and careers. 

This impressive apartment was also designed under the 10 (evidence based) design for dementia principles. (Read 10 Design Principles for Dementia) 


The Floorplan

The overall design of the apartment is open plan with wide door openings, level thresholds and two directional light in order to allow easier access and navigation around the different rooms and minimize dark corners that may confuse Max.

The rooms

Every room had key elements such as bright light globes, sensor lights, high contrast objects like plates, shelves and chairs, wireless door sensors, magi plugs, among others, in order to provide Max with a more independent everyday life, at the same time protecting him from risks and giving Barbara the chance to have a more comfortable life. 

These are some of the most important rooms and their features:

Living Room 

Interesting objects are present to promote conversation and interaction. 


Contrasting furniture to help with visualization.  

Dining Room

Central location and easy access, with comfortable contrasting chairs that invite for interaction. 


Big contrasting elements in bright warm colours that stimulate apetite and make them easier to be seen. 


Some shelves without handles for risk objects such as knifes, and others with handles for everyday safe use objects to help Max keep protected in a non-obstructive way. 


A double-purpose blackboard to write reminder and motivational messages and to cover the fridge in a preventive way. Next to it, a small fridge with a see through door and ready to eat safe food and drinks. 


Glased window to create a more relaxing environment, and a blackout to promote better sleep at night. 

Doorless wardrobe for easy access to everyday use basic clothing pieces. Labeled drawers to keep independence and facilitate object location.


 Contrasting toilet seat for easy location. Higher and with a handle for comfort


Wide shower for easy assistance and folding contrasting seat for easy location


Mirror with blind for easy hiding and preventing Max from feeling confused. Open shelves for easy access to everyday use objects. 


Max and Barbara’s apartment is a  space where good design meets functionality to provide greater independence, comfort and better quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. 

Creted by

Dementia Enabling Environments



“Art and Alzheimer’s” Workshop


Today, the International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International officially started in Perth, Australia. I had the chance to attend a very interesting workshop organized by the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

The “Art and Alzheimer’s” workshop allowed us the participants to get a better idea of the different art activities the gallery offers to people living with Alzheimer’s disease. 

They also gave us the chance to be part of one of the activities they offer in which they show people living with Alzheimer’s one of the works of art they show at the gallery and then they ask them to reproduce a similar piece based in their own memories and lives. 

This time, we worked with the painting called “Self-portrait” by the artist Iris Francis.


After looking at it in detail, we then started to replicate the painting using our own experiences and the different materials the gallery provided.

These were some of the resulting pieces. 


This is an excellent way of stimulating people living with Alzheimer’s, it not only helps them express themselves artistically but it also keeps their memory, motor skills and creativity active.

Published on the Abstract Booklet of the International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International

portada abstract bookletThe prestigious International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International, held in Perth, Australia next 15th-18th of April 2015, has published the online version of the Abstract Booklet, in which all the presenters work is briefly described.

On page 175 you can find the short paragraph I wrote describing my work.

closeup abstract booklet

Thank you so much to Alzheimer’s Disease International for this recognition and I hope this makes people interested in what I and all the people included in this book do, try to improve the lives of those who live with Alzheimer’s.

Full Abstract Booklet