The Physical Environment’s Impact: Using Effective Design to Reduce the Behavioral Symptoms of Dementia and Improve Care

Start time
10:00 AM Pacific
End time
11:00 AM Pacific


Presented by ASA's Healthcare and Aging Network (HAN)

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This webinar will explore the links between environmental design, hard-wired neural capacities of people with dementia, their sense of self, and person-centered relationships and care.  We will explore the fascinating ways that the physical environment can actually be used to reduce behavioral symptoms of dementia by providing individuals with the opportunity to be themselves.  The mechanism for arriving at this result is design for hard-wired neural capacities that do not diminish over the course of Alzheimer’s.  The seminar will outline and describe these capacities, show how they are released and enabled by design of the physical environment, and how they in turn enable care partners to develop a more human view of the person with dementia.

Participants in this web seminar will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the hard –wired brain capacities that link environmental design decisions to the person’s sense of self and ultimately to person centered care.
  • List and apply the eight major design criteria for a dementia-supportive environment for person centered care.
  • Determine how to make their own environments more person-centered either through physical renovation or changes to the way the environments are used.
  • Review and critique design plans for proposed dementia residences and critique them in terms of the degree to which they support person centered care.


Dr. John Zeisel, a sociologist by training, has studied and applied the principles in this webinar of designing for person centered care for over two decades when he founded Hearthstone Alzheimer Care, an organization that now manages six residences for people with dementia in and around New York City and Boston, Massachusetts.  His book I’m Still Here: A New Philosophy of Alzheimer’s Care, and his foundation of the same name, promote nonpharmacological interventions and approached to treating and reducing symptoms often associated with Alzheimer’s.