The DFA July Committee Meeting was delighted to feature Jeffrey Rosenfeld, Ph.D. who gave an amazing presentation about Alzheimer’s Gardens. Jeff is a gerontologist who is involved in product-design and interior-design for older people. In addition to his consulting, Jeff is on the faculty at Parsons School of Design, where he teaches Design For Aging Populations. His books include Home Design in an Aging World, and also Unassisted Living. Both books were written with architect Wid Chapman, AIA. Jeff’s next book will be titled, Alzheimer’s Gardens: Designed For Healing.

Looking for inspiration in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John John Berendt, there’s no memory or recollection of what was when you have Alzheimer’s, including sight, hearing, touch, and smell. Alzheimer’s Gardens are environments where patients can access memories or sensations. They provide therapeutic components including circular or figure eight paths (they like to wander a lot), fragrant flowers in containers or growing in the soil, wind chimes, secure boundaries (some kind of fence), occasional seating (benches or chairs), and sunny and shady patches. However issues such as garden infrastructures, garden botanicals and humans in the garden (more than just for residents) need to be planned and addressed.

In the presentation Jeff showcased examples in Hampton Court, UK, Port Macquarie, Australia and Dax, France. His Alzheimer’s Garden Project for course Design for Aging Populations, Parsons School of Design will be given funding for poster sized designs that can be shared. Also, he has become enthusiastic in park benches after he brought his student’s “intergenerational bench” to the NY Parks Department. In the Q&A session attendees had extensive discussion about it, and the Committee expressed interests to get some of Jeff’s students’ work to be displayed at the Chapter.

After the presentation, members shared some resources and news regarding design for aging, such as:

Events and presentations in formation includes:

  • Richard Rosen/Perkins-Eastman will present their ongoing project: September 28 in DFA Committee Meeting
  • Potential collaboration with WIA committee on Women Led Architecture Firms and Design for Aging: Q1, 2024

The complete meeting agenda with an extended list of ideas from previous meetings and events in formation for Tafel Hall panels can be accessed here. Please note that DFA Committee has no August monthly meeting. We look forward to seeing everyone in September!