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People are living for longer and longer. The capacity for memory fades rapidly with age. Dementia is becoming more and more of an everyday challenge in old people's homes and nursing homes, and dementia-oriented construction has therefore become an important task for the operators and architects of care facilities. Communities and private operators prepare themselves for the increasing number of affected persons by developing care support points and designed care havens in which the residents will find structure and support. Memory-oriented design, clear lines, plenty of light, a contrast-rich ambience and security are the characteristics of optimum living spaces for people affected by dementia – in both existing structures and new builds. Good products help to implement ambitious architecture.
Innovations for individual architecture solutions
Häfele, the internationally leading provider of hardware and fitting systems and electronic access control systems, gives planners and decision-makers important instruments for implementing these demanding goals in the best possible way. Häfele also made a valuable contribution to the success of the renovations with the Dialock electronic access control system, among other things, during the conversion of the former German National Railway administrative building to the “Vitanas Dementia Centre am Schleinufer” in Magdeburg. The Kossel, Simon and Partner office was responsible for the architecture, planning and coordination of the revitalisation.
The listed building on the banks of the Elbe is the second old people's centre that Vitanas Group is operating in Magdeburg. The special feature of this facility are the individual living areas, in which different advanced dementia concepts are applied. Any resident suffering from dementia can be provided with the right living environment and therefore given individual care. There are six different living environments for 127 persons in the building. All clients are looked after in a specific way and in accordance with their personal stage of dementia. The so-called market place can be found on the fourth floor, a 170 square metre room flooded with light with a "convertible roof". Facilities such as the “pub”, the hairdresser and the dentist makes it a meeting place for all residents and employees, but also for relatives and visitors. “Basically we are an open house,” says Dr. Claudia Zemlin, clinical psychologist, gerontologist and manager of the department for dementia diseases at Vitanas GmbH & Co. KGaA. “We place considerable value on giving the residents as much freedom as possible and as much security as is necessary. Dementia patients should remain citizens and participate in life, even outside the facility. Of course, this makes special demands of the access control system in a building. As far as door locking systems are concerned there isn't just one generic solution: some residents are very good with keys, both cognitively and locomotory, and others require alternatives. We therefore need an extremely flexible and future-proof system.”
Six different living environments for 127 persons
Variable locking convenience
The Dialock electronic access control system from Häfele provides exactly the flexibility that is required: from the main entrance to the door of the resident's private accommodation. A combination of mechanical and electronic locking systems is used for access control in the building – also to avoid the expense of replacing lost keys with mechanical locking systems. The cylinders were deliberately designed to be visible so that the residents can recognise and use the door and the lock in accordance with the memory-oriented approach that is used in the facility. Profile cylinders were omitted altogether because of the restricted locomotory capacity of some of the residents. The doors are opened and locked contactlessly via passive transponder technology: a microchip with antennae sits on a Dialock key and communicates with the Häfele DT 400 and DT 600 door terminals and the WT 100 wall terminals wirelessly. It does not require its own power supply, but obtains its energy for communicating from the electrical field of the terminals. The system is affordable and fail-safe. Emergency opening takes place using a mechanical key. It is also possible to log locking and unlocking operations and therefore increase the residents' security.
Dialock electronic access control system provides the necessary flexibility.
The products from Häfele are optimally coordinated with each other and support the innovative care concepts of the facility and therefore help the residents to live autonomously for as long as possible. Planning help for construction measures such as these can be ordered free of charge at www.haefele.de.