Pictures of children and grandchildren. But also of good friends and memorable events. Typical objects that can be found in many rooms in elderly houses or living facilities. At the end of life, the beginning of (new) life becomes more and more important.
In The Netherlands, one institution took this notion a few steps further when redesigning housing for their elderly dementia patients. The Hogeweyk (http://hogeweyk.dementiavillage.com) village is a specially designed village with houses for dementia-suffering seniors, differentiated by lifestyle. Hogeweyk offers different lifestyles, like: homey, Christian, artisan and Indonesian.
Designing these spaces from a lifestyle perspective gives patients a more recognizable and thus, more pleasant environment to live in and a greater peace of mind. Their recollection of past times fits in better with these interiors and gives them a better end-of-life experience.
Redesigning entire facilities with these insights might not be manageable within the near future, but technology might help with that. There is a lot of ambient technology that can help (re)create atmospheres using technology. One good example of that is the LEF Future Center (http://www.rijkswaterstaat.nl/zakelijk/innovatie-en-duurzame-leefomgeving/lef-future-center/breakthrough-with-lef.aspx). LEF uses wall projections, furniture, colour, scent, catering, images and sound to create a customised atmosphere in a variety of spaces appropriate to the process. Ordinarily, this is used for brainstorm sessions, but creating new atmospheres can be used for any type of spatial design.
So if we would enhance all those pictures and paraphernalia, using ambient technology and insights in lifestyle design, to really create a personalized living environment where the beginning of life and end of life can come together?