JDC Spring-2001 v3 - A Pattern Language for Designing Interiors for Alzheimer's Patients

PATTERN 8 - Peaceful Realm

Rooms and bathrooms for agitated patients should be acoustically treated and located away from the rooms of other residents and also from the main activity areas. Placing the television in a sound proof or sound absorbing room and incorporating additional acoustical elements in bathrooms and common areas perpetuates a noise free environment.


Residents with dementia can be disruptive and aggressive due to frustration and changes in behavior. Agitation is contagious (Brawley, 1995). Hence abating noise with acoustical treatments is important. Problematic behaviors in the form of physical and verbal resistance including screaming and shouting during bathing have been observed (Sloane). The bathing area has the highest level of screaming caused by confusion, fear, agitation and painful physical experience. It could disrupt the peace in adjacent living areas or cause anxiety to other insecure and emotionally weak residents.

Alzheimer's patients are old and one of the major problems includes diminished hearing. Age associated hearing is the 3rd most prevalent chronic condition among elderly people. Where television or music is a source of entertainment the loud music may disturb other residents who may want to read or walk in silence. Sound proofing techniques using thick upholstery fabrics, wall hanging, quilts, acoustical ceiling tiles, wooden floors to provide a serene environment are an impertinent solution.