RAUM!Erleben - The importance of spatial orientation within the life-world: people living with dementia who live by themselves at home

Project overview

Project duration:2022 - 2024
Project funding:

Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ)

Within Germany’s National Dementia Strategy, work package 4.3.11.: “Research about the life-world of people living with dementia”

Project lead and coordination:Dr. Saskia Kuliga
Project staff:Dr. Daniela Templin, Anne Fahsold, Marie Wohlan (student assistant)
Former project staff:Julius Manuel Strotmann (student assistant)
Commissioned work (Module 1.3)Dr. Vincent Langenfeld


There are approximately 1.6 million people living with dementia in Germany, some of whom live in single-person households. One goal of Germany’s National Dementia Strategy is to support people living with dementia and their relatives or care partners. Germany’s National Dementia Strategy focuses on research about the life-world of people living with dementia.

Spatial orientation is a key component of a person’s independence and social participation in everyday life: Disorientation can mean, among other things, that a person cannot (or no longer) independently orient or identify strategies to find their way within a space, e.g., in cities or buildings.

Especially for people with dementia who are living by themselves, it can sometimes feel like a burden to ask others to support them when they are navigating built space. People who feel self-confident and safe might be more likely to engage in activities in their neighborhood, even in the absence of supportive others people; i.e., spatial orientation, social inclusion, and quality of life are connected.

Project aims

Funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the research project “RAUM!Erleben” at the DZNE Site Witten focuses on the perspectives of people living with dementia and their lived experience of their lifeworld, in different living situations (e.g. living alone) and in different environments.

The aim of this research project is to investigate the significance of spatial orientation in the lifeworld from the perspective of people with dementia and to derive recommendations for action for practice from the research results.

Three research questions are central to this:


The research project relies on a qualitative, partially participatory research approach. Via walk-throughs, social/spatial analyses, and co-creative research methods, the project involves people living with early stages of dementia, volunteers engaged in services for people living with dementia, and practitioners. In particular, RAUM!Erleben seeks to shed light on the first-hand perspectives of people with dementia who are living by themselves at home (i.e., in a single-person household).

Expected results

The research results will be translated into recommendations for action for practitioners (such as municipalities and planning stakeholders). Findings will be made available to the (professional) public. RAUM!Erleben contributes to understanding the perspectives of people living with dementia, with regard to their living environment, life-world and, particularly, spatial orientation. Hence, the project might also derive feedback for future (so called) dementia-sensitive built environments and a future National Dementia Strategy, accordingly.


Would you like to participate in the study?

Take a look at our invitation flyer or contact us. We look forward to you!

Thank you very much!


Dr. Saskia Kuliga
Stockumer Str. 12
+49 2302 926-245

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