Those who are caring for a loved one that has dementia will need to take a number of steps to create a dementia-friendly home. Below is a list of these and why they are so important.
Utilize Contrasting Colors with Minimal Patterns
When choosing blankets, curtains, sheets or related garments, you’ll want to choose contrasting colors as it makes it easier for dementia patients to see objects which are useful. Patterns on the other hand can lead to visual confusion as dementia patients will find it difficult to see.
Position Keepsakes and Photos in the Environment to Elicit Positive Memories
Placing keepsakes or photos of family and friends in the environment will elicit positive memories in those that have dementia, and will also establish an environment which is pleasant.
Make Regularly Used Items Simple to Find
A dementia patient should never have to struggle to find anything, especially items which they use regularly. Be sure that daily necessities are always left out in the open where the dementia patient can easily see and access them.
Avoid Closing or Locking Door When Possible
Obviously, you want to keep the exterior doors to the residence locked and closed, but inside you’ll want to leave the doors to the rooms open whenever possible, because otherwise dementia patients might not be able to recall where certain rooms are located, and you want to make it simple for them to navigate the property. You can also add signs which say “bathroom,” “kitchen” or “food,” which will help those who routinely get lost.
Remove All Clutter and Obstacles
Living in a cluttered home is bad for everyone, but especially those who suffer from dementia. Not only will they find it difficult to navigate the premises, they will also frequently misplace items. Even worse, there is a much higher risk of them tripping, falling and injuring themselves which could lead to hospital stays and infection. Cleaning up the home up a dementia patient should be your number one priority, even if they are hoarders that will resist.
Install Toilet Aids
A number of changes will need to be made to the bathroom so that dementia patients can sit or stand independently. Examples of this including raising the toilet seat, and if necessary installing arms. You might also need to use toiletry target aids which make it easier for them to see and use the bathroom. Shower or bathtub handles will prevent them from slipping and fall, especially when combined with non-slip surfaces.
Some Items Should be hidden
There are some items that you won’t want the dementia patient having access to. Examples of this include knives, medication, firearms or any object they could use to potentially hurt themselves or others. Be sure that these items are hidden and locked away in a container that only you can access.
Finally, because some dementia patients also suffer from conditions like arthritis, it can be challenging for them to hold and grip items, so you might want to consider investing in adaptive dishware, drink ware and utensils which are made from soft foam.