IKEA Is Designing Prefab Homes So That People with Dementia Can Be More Independent

published Sep 13, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
1 / 8

If you’ve ever watched a person struggle through Alzheimer’s disease or another condition that yields dementia, then you know how heartbreaking every aspect of the journey is. But as variations of dementia are being researched, we are discovering ways to keep patients feeling as much like themselves as is possible—and that includes helping them to foster a sense of independence. Enter: IKEA.

IKEA co-owns BoKlok, a company that creates affordable housing, which is designing units that are specifically made for the elderly. The collaboration’s SilviaBo units are being transformed so that they’re more usable for those with dementia. Many dementia patients express a desire to remain living independently as their symptoms progress, but aren’t able to. Sometimes, though, simple tweaks can change that.

IKEA is addressing some of these easy-fixes with the new units. Digital controls for kitchen appliances are being replaced with buttons and knobs. Dark floors and mirrors in bathrooms, both of which can be jarring for those with dementia, are being eliminated. In addition to small modifications like these, the units also have access to a community center and therapeutic gardens.

With plans that encourage living and thriving in the outdoors, the new SilviaBo homes are bound to put some dementia patients at ease. After all, keeping community ties, staying active outdoors, and incorporating nostalgic lifestyle components—especially music—are all known to increase feelings of wellness for dementia patients. 

Kudos to IKEA for not only getting on board with affordable housing (that also happens to look great), but for thinking out of the box to make little changes that will yield big results.