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Dementia Design: Experiential & Environmental Research Supporting Safer Living Spaces

Thursday, November 10, 2016 | 1:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. CT

How much do we really know and understand about living with dementia and how we can better design physical environments for residents with dementia?  A team of senior living experts tackled this issue head on by living in memory care residences in a variety of different communities across the country, using equipment to simulate the behaviors of a person with mid-level cognitive decline. 

Speakers Amy Carpenter and Melissa Pritchard came as close as possible to “walking in the resident’s shoes.”  They will share their real-life experiences and explain how the environment and operations affect elders with dementia. Attendees will hear why sometimes what we typically call “negative behaviors” aren’t really what they seem.

Learn from this unusual research project and explore the perceptions and findings of these brave designers. They will discuss how the design of the environment can support or challenge the resident and provide practical advice on what facility owners can do to improve an existing community or include in a future design project.

Learning Objectives:

  • Summarize ways enviornmental and operational factors can affect dementia residents
  • Discuss design elements that can be incorporated into a new or existing facility
  • Explain why "negative behaviors" aren't really what they seem
  • List practical takeaways for applying these design principles to future projects


CE Information

*This program is pending approval by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards.  For additional information, contact NAB at 1444 I St., NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005-2210, (202)712-9040, or*

Amy Carpenter, AIA, LEED AP
Senior Associate
SFCS, Inc.

Amy Carpenter, AIA, LEED ap, is a Senior Associate with SFCS, Inc, a full service A/E/ID firm that specializes in the design of senior living communities nationwide. She is based in the Conshohocken, PA, office and focuses mainly on the design of Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing Facilities.

In addition to her work with SFCS, she is also the current Board Chair at White Horse Village, A Life Plan Community located outside of Philadelphia. Amy was also named one of Long-Term Living Magazine’s “Leaders of Tomorrow” in 2014. 

Melissa Pritchard, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Senior Vice President
SFCS, Inc.

Melissa Pritchard, AIA, LEED ap BD+C, is a Senior Vice President at SFCS, Inc., based in the main office in Roanoke, VA. Beginning with her graduate thesis, Melissa began to focus on her specialized interests in the areas of design for seniors, with a focus on design for memory support.

Melissa is actively involved in researching design trends and innovations that can improve the residential environments that are emerging as the industry standard for skilled care communities. She has written numerous project articles and received many distinctive awards for her work.