Using the Environment to Support Communication and Foster Independence in People with Dementia

Publication Title

Alzheimer’s Care Quarterly

Publication Date

Fall 2002

Document Type



Alzheimer's, dementia, environment


Architecture | Environmental Design | Other Architecture


AB Physical and social environments are important but often untapped resources that can have a significant impact on the overall goals of food consumption and quality of life. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effect of improved lighting and table setting contrast on residents' oral intake and behaviors during meals in both assisted living and long-term care environments serving people with dementia. A 3-day calorie count, foot-candle measures, the Meal Assistance Screening Tool, and the Communication Outcome Measure of Functional Independence were administered at baseline and posttest 4 weeks later. Twenty-five residents with dementia at two long-term care facilities participated in the pilot study. After enhancing the lighting and table setting contrast, there were improvements in both oral intake and functional abilities at both facilities. (C) 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.