Safe, supportive, cost-effective design solutions for aged care — discover Repositionable Media (RPM)

The Creative Printer
Monday, 16 May, 2022

With Australia’s aging population set to rapidly accelerate over the next ten years, the demand for and pressure on aged care services both in residential aged care facilities and within home-based support programs is expected to increase exponentially.

In 2020 it was reported by the Australian government that more than 840,000 Australians were receiving support via the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, and around 245,000 Australians were living permanently in residential aged care facilities.

Coupled with this burgeoning number of advanced-age Australians requiring support is a frighteningly rapid growth in the number of Australians living with or caring for someone diagnosed with dementia.

In 2022, the Dementia Australia organisation reported almost half a million Australians were currently living with dementia, with the number expected to increase to more than a million over the next several decades. It was also reported that approximately 1.6 million Australians were presently involved in providing care for someone already diagnosed with dementia.

We know the numbers are high and getting higher, and thus the demand for support and the resources required to meet this demand are also surging. So, what are the solutions?

Identifying the key needs of those living in aged care and assisted living environments

For older adults, including and especially those living with dementia, physical and social environments can become increasingly difficult to navigate as health and cognition deteriorates.

But, with considered design, supportive environments can be easily and cost-effectively established and assist those diagnosed with dementia and other conditions to live as independently as possible without facing needless disability.

The best designed spaces address four key areas that those living with dementia, as well as those requiring broader living assistance, may find challenging: comfort, support, stress, and safety.

What is RPM, and how can it support these key needs?

With the increased demand, high turnover rates, and resident-specific needs in live-in facilities, fast, easy, and cost-effective solutions are a must. Repositionable Media (RPM) printed products provide exactly that: a way to make a space personal and functional for each resident without overhauling the décor in a costly traditional way.

RPM products can be custom printed, affixed to any flat surface, easily removed without damaging existing design features, and can also be reused time and again in multiple spaces.

Dementia Centre certified RPM products take it a step further, having been specifically designed and rigorously tested to meet the needs of people living with dementia, assisting them to orientate and feel at home in complex environments.

RPM Art, Reframe and Photo Collage products provide comfort and support, and help promote the feeling of homeliness and familiarity. Resident-specific art and picture collages can provide visual memory prompts for those struggling with cognitive impairment and offer talking points to encourage social engagement. These RPM products can be affixed directly to the wall, or over an existing frame or artwork.

To support independent living, RPM signage solutions assist residents with orientation and wayfinding, allowing them to maintain a sense of freedom and independence, which in turn promotes more robust confidence and better mental health. Similarly, in a long hallway of identical rooms, RPM Memory Doors allow residents to easily identify their door with a personalised design that can be affixed and removed, without causing damage.

For older adults and those struggling with dementia-related cognitive deterioration, there can be many sensory triggers in an environment that may cause significant distress, including light glare and mirror reflections. A Dementia Certified Mirror RPM can alleviate such triggers, by providing a matte finish, opaque decal covering for any size or shape mirror or reflective surface. RPM Privacy and One-way Window coverings can also reduce agitation by allowing residents privacy as well as redirecting them from areas that may pose a risk.

With confusion and disorientation can sometimes come danger, with exit-seeking behaviour being one such example. RPM Door Diversions can help conceal exits by making doors look inconspicuous, and gently distracting residents from its true function.

Whether designing for an aged care or assisted living facility, or for simply making a home space more functional and supportive, easy, cost-effective, and damage-free Repositionable Media products provide many of the environmental solutions to make a space more useful and enjoyable for both loved ones and their carers.

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