Nearly half of people with dementia in Belgium is being cared for in residential care. These residential and care centres can be seen as 'total Institutes ' (Foucault), places where a generalised approach is favored over a personal one: the food, the time of going to sleep , the music for relaxation ,... is determined by the residential care centre and "tailored " to the larger group of residents. Few will perceive the care centre as a home, a place where the daily habits , customs and objects are and feel yours. This research proposal has the ' personalisation ' of a ' generalized ' place as a theme. The proposal tries to research how artistic and designerly practies can enhance the feeling of home for a person with dementia in a residential care centre. It tries to create a method to take into account the wants, needs and desires of people with dementia. It will lead to twent artifacts designed for and together with people with dementia. To take into account the wants, needs and desires of people with dementia is however not an easy thing to do. A person with dementia often has difficulties with communicating (aphasia), making abstractions or making his or her preferences known (among others linked to the difficulty of making choices). How dementia affects the daily life of a person is also difficult to predict. The resulting design method is based on the principles of participatory design, but takes into account the unique and individual characteristics of the person with dementia . The end result of this two-year project is an exhibition of twenty artifacts to enhance the sense of belonging and a framework for individual participatory design with people with dementia. During the course of the project a multidisciplinary and cross-campus teaching module with the same theme will also be launched . At the end of the process the research and design results are shown in a publication. The intermediary results of the project will be published on online platform.


  • Niels Hendriks (project leader, LUCA)
  • Andrea Wilkinson (LUCA)
  • Nele Maesen

Research unit: Inter-Actions

Duration: 2014 -