Make a Home Dementia Friendly
When people think about dementia, the first thing that comes to mind is memory loss. But the effect of this awful condition is far-reaching. It can include the loss of the ability to perform complex tasks, general confusion, and problems with visual and spatial skills. So, for people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, even the simplest tasks in life can become challenging.
Alzheimer’s and dementia are degenerative diseases. The symptoms will get worse over time. Even so, most people who live with these conditions will naturally want to stay independent for as long as possible. To make living at home with dementia as safe and comfortable as possible, though, you may need to make some changes around the house. Here twelve changes you can make to make a home dementia friendly.
1. Get More Natural Light into Rooms
If there is plenty of light in the home, it will make it easier for a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s to see things and orientate themselves. So, make sure that nothing blocks daylight getting into the home during the day, and make sure that the rooms are well-lit at night.
It is easy for any of us to lose things when there is a lot of clutter around, but that problem is many times worse if you have dementia. So, clear away unnecessary items and tidy up drawers and cupboards. Make sure that things that the individual with dementia needs daily are easy to find. Be careful, though, to be sensitive about the way that you do the tidying up and discuss what you are doing. If you move something of special significance without asking the patient, you will upset them.
3. Make Use of Contrasting Colors
Use contrasting colors to make things easier to see and find. Yellow door handles on white doors, for example, would help a person identify a door and find the handle. A red toilet seat rather than a white one would help someone notice that the toilet seat on a white toilet was down. Be careful, though, not to use too many colors, and avoid loud patterns or the visual overload will cause more confusion.
4. Make Sure That Floors Are Safe
Remove any trip hazards from the floor, like mats and rugs, and check for any loose edges on carpets. Cover any slippery floors with carpet. Make sure that the floors are easy to see as well by not using floor coverings that are the same color as the walls. Using different color floor coverings in each room will also help a person with Alzheimer’s distinguish each room.
5. Put Signs on Doors
People living with dementia may have an issue remembering which doors lead to which rooms. You can ease this problem by placing easy-to-see signs on each door or leaving the door open. If there are any doors in the property that lead to something dangerous, those doors should be locked. A door that leads to basement stairs, for example, should be kept secure.
6. Place Photos and Mementos Around the Home
Old family photographs and mementos from the past will help a person living with dementia remember people and happy times. Music from the past can also be very therapeutic. Creating a connection with the past is extremely important for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. So, do not make the home too sterile when you are doing the decluttering.
7. Label Items
Something as simple as which is the hot and cold faucet can be confusing. So, place labels on items like faucets, drawers, and cabinets to make identification easier. You can also buy products like picture phones that allow you to put photos of people on quick-dial buttons.
8. Buy Easy-to-use Utensils
Utensils like knives and forks, hairbrushes, and cups can be hard for people with dementia to grip, as they can for people who have arthritis or who have suffered a stroke. If you see someone struggling to use these daily items, buying adaptive products will make life much easier for the person. You can get easy to grip adaptive eating utensils, for example, and large-handled adaptive cups and mugs.
9. Get Furniture that is Easy to See
Stripes and patterns can be confusing and difficult to see. So, get bold colored furniture that contrasts with the floors and walls. Bright colored furniture will help to prevent a person with dementia bumping into or falling over items, and it will help the person identify the different pieces of furniture.
10. Hide Items that May Cause Confusion
Sometimes, when people living with conditions like Alzheimer’s get confused, they will complete the same task repeatedly. They might forget that they have already fed the cat, for example. Or, more dangerously, they may forget that they have already taken their medication. For things like taking medication, you can get timed medication dispensers that will help. Sometimes, though, the best way to prevent accidents like this is to hide items, like the cat food, that might trigger the problem.
11. Install Safety Equipment
Make the most of technology to make a home dementia friendly. There are sensors that you can buy, for example, that want you if a faucet has been left running or the temperature in a room is too high or too low. The addition of handrails at strategic points around the home will help to prevent falls. Things like smoke alarms are even more crucial when a person has dementia because it may take the person longer to recognize danger.
12. Make it Easy to Keep Track of Time
Often it is the small things that will help to make a home dementia friendly, like having an easy-to-read clock and calendar. So much of our day revolves around knowing what time it is and knowing what day of the week it is, but people living with dementia often lose track of time. If you have easy-to-read clocks and calendars around the home, it will help a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia schedule tasks and stay connected with the here and now.
Many thanks for reading our tips on how to make a home dementia friendly. We hope that you found it interesting and useful. We will be publishing more home safety tips and advice soon. If you would like to be advised when we have new content for you to read, please subscribe to our mailing list.
If you have loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, then you may be finding it a challenge communicating with the individual. For guidance on how to talk to a person who has dementia, we recommend that you read 8 Ways To Communicate With Someone That Has Dementia on the Terra Vista Memory Care Community website.
Thanks again for visiting Best Panic Alarm. Have a beautiful day, and keep you and yours safe!