ArgumentNo. 12/2020

The Concept of Dementia Enabling Built Environment from an Interdisciplinary Perspective

  • / lecturer PhD. arch., „Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest, RO
  • / PhD. cl. psych., Medical Rehabilitation Clinic, „Elias” Emergency University Hospital, Bucharest, RO
  • / PhD scient. researcher III, biol., Medical Rehabilitation Clinic, „Elias” Emergency University Hospital, Bucharest, RO
  • / physical therapist, Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Spiru Haret University, Bucharest, RO
  • / assist. prof. PhD MD arch., Faculty of Medicine, „Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, RO


In the context of the upward trend of population aging, the number of people affected by neurocognitive disorders (NCD) is also increasing, the most well-known being Alzheimer's dementia. Maintaining for as long as possible a better quality of life in these patients depends very much on the built environment, in this sense we are talking about enabling built environments.

The paper aims to explain the concept of enabling built environment dedicated to the older persons with neurocognitive disorders (EBEnc) with application on residential centers for seniors such as nursing-home and respite centers.

The present research interdisciplinary investigates the concept of EBEnc, interfering with the opinions of five specialists: architect, physician, psychologist, biologist and physical therapist. We critically analyzed the EBEnc principles from an integrative perspective, starting from the authors' expertise and using value judgment as a tool. To structure the analysis on the EBEnc concept we used the set of 10 principles formulated by Fleming et al in World Alzheimer Report 2020. In explaining the 10 principles we used the case study method, analyzing elderly centers that provide long-term care.

An activating built environment dedicated to the elderly with NCD is based on a number of principles: discreet risk reduction, small scale (homes / day centers), facilitating visual access, management of stimulation levels, encouraging exercise and involvement in activities, maintaining / creating a familiar space, outlining spatial hypostases for interaction / retreat (home / nursing-home / community) and last but not least, design in accordance with the vision of life.

The shaping of EBEnc is the result of an interdisciplinary teamwork. A dementia-friendly design is a carefully managed combination that creates an optimal balance of stimulation of the older person with NCD. An activating space for an elderly person with NCD provides multisensory stimulation. EBEnc will help maintain the independence of people with NCD for as long as possible.


dementia-friendly, enabling built environment, architecture, quality of life, interidsciplinarity