Dementia experts host international masterclass

Back to news
an elderly lady sitting in a wheelchair with a crochet blanket over her lap with her carer outside

International experts in the design of environments for people with dementia have gathered at the University of Stirling to attend a masterclass hosted by the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC).

A range of leaders in the fields of design and ageing presented on the latest developments in the sector, exchanging knowledge on how to help the world’s growing ageing population live independently for longer.

This expertise feeds into DSDC’s ongoing research, including investigations into how to improve experiences for people with dementia admitted to a general hospital, the role that neighbourhoods play in the lives of people with dementia, and what constitutes a ‘good life’ in later years.

Practical experience

Participants shared practical experience on how design for dementia and ageing can dramatically improve people’s quality of life.

Professor Emma Reynish, Chair in Dementia Research at the University of Stirling’s DSDC, said: “This masterclass brings together internationally-recognised experts in designing for people with dementia and the ageing population. There are currently around 50 million people estimated to be living with dementia around the world, and this figure is expected to double in 20 years. It’s essential that we collaborate to improve quality of life throughout the later years.

“This masterclass reinforces our commitment to improving the lives of people with dementia through innovative, multidisciplinary research, continued cutting edge development and the promotion of best practice in design for dementia. Today’s event has reinforced our awareness of the international appetite to continue developing our leading work in this area.”

Speakers included Anna Buchanan, Director of Life Changes Trust's People Affected by Dementia Programme and Kanoko Oishi, CEO of Mediva Inc. in Japan. DSDC is set to award an accreditation for excellence in design for dementia care, to a nursing home designed and built by Mediva Inc. and the Tokyu Land Corporation, in Japan later this summer.

As part of a trip funded by the Dementia Services Development Trust, Adhilakshmi Kannan, head nurse of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation in Chennai also presented on developments in dementia care in India.

DSDC Chief Architect Lesley Palmer and Director Stephen Brooks of Space Architects used the masterclass as an opportunity to announce the launch of a new dementia design app – the first of its kind in the world – which will allow people to input information about their environment.

The app will provide recommendations, backed up by the University of Stirling’s research, on how to make simple improvements to enhance the room for the needs of an ageing person, and in particular for a person living with dementia. It will also link to construction industry design software, guiding architects and designers on best practice dementia design principles.

Background information

Media enquiries to Corrie Campbell, Communications Officer, on 01786 466 169 or

For more information about DSDC visit

Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), University of Stirling

DSDC is an international centre of knowledge and expertise dedicated to improving the lives of people with dementia, drawing on research and practice from across the world, to provide a comprehensive, up to date resource on all aspects of dementia.  Based at the University of Stirling, DSDC works with individuals and organisations to improve the design of care environments, to make communities dementia friendly, to influence policy and to improve services for people with dementia. 

Dementia and Ageing Research Group, University of Stirling

Our research programmes deliver the here and now findings that have the potential to make real life differences today and tomorrow. As such our research has the potential for a more immediate impact compared to the likes of basic science and clinical trials research. Our research covers many areas but broadly speaking looks at quality of life and ways to improve it, be that by understanding everyday care and support, and dementia friendly neighbourhoods, practice in care homes or the acute hospital and the impact and delivery of design and assistive technology. Research activity is closely aligned with the work of DSDC and as a result has the ability to deliver palpable impact to the older population and those living with dementia.