Majority of research examining the impact of the built environment on people with dementia focuses on institutional settings, while the role of the community built environment is largely ignored. Using a mixed-methods approach this study examined the effect of the neighbourhood built environment on mobility and community participation of people with early-stage dementia. A conceptual framework was developed to represent key concepts and their interrelationships. The findings reveal that challenges to mobility and participation include: leaving the comfort zone, safety, a changing skillset, and losing their license. Environmental features that affected mobility and participation included: pedestrian-friendly areas, wayfinding support, and the availability of dementia-friendly destinations. Mobility and participation in community spaces provided: maintenance of lifestyle in a time of loss, personal freedom, and a sense of normalcy. These findings demonstrate the need for responsive planning and design of neighbourhoods to foster mobility and community participation in people with dementia.
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Thesis advisor: Chaudhury, Habib
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