Today – Ways to Create a Dementia-Friendly Home Environment
Ways to Create a Dementia-Friendly Home Environment
Caring for an ageing parent at home can be a complex and challenging situation — particularly if they have dementia. As this condition progresses, it can affect their memory, emotions and even their character. Of course, you want to support your parent as best as you can. Often, people with dementia see the world differently so the home environment can have a huge impact on them. One way to help is by improving the space around them, so it caters to their needs.
Below are five easy changes to create a more dementia-friendly home environment, which can have a positive impact on emotional well-being and independence.
Add Dementia-Friendly Door Wraps
Colour and contrast in the home can be especially helpful for people with dementia as it helps them to identify key features and rooms. Dementia-friendly door wraps are specially designed to help people with dementia to navigate around at home and to reduce anxiety. These vibrant door wraps come in a wide range of colours and designs so you can pick one to compliment your home. They’re easy-to-fit and are fully compliant with fire regulations.
Add Labels and Signs
To help your parent find everyday items around the home, it’s important to add labels and signs onto cupboards and doors they use often. For example, a sign on the bathroom door could have an icon of a toilet and sink to make it clear what that room is. Or, you could place a picture of mugs on the relevant kitchen cupboard.
Everyday things can confuse someone with dementia. A rug, for example, could be seen as an object to step over, which may cause a fall. Therefore, it’s important to ensure the floor is safe by removing any rugs or mats. It’s also worth avoiding any shiny or reflective flooring as this can be perceived as being wet, which may cause difficulties. Matt flooring is the best choice — preferably in a colour that contrasts with the walls.
During the later stages of dementia, your parent may no longer be able to recognise themselves. As a result, they may become upset when looking at themselves in the mirror as their reflection may suggest a stranger is in the house.
If this rings true with your parent, cover-up any mirrors to avoid confusion or distress. Their reflection in the window when it’s dark can cause the same problem, so it’s best to close the curtains in the evening.
Add Dementia-Friendly Household Items
As well as making changes to existing parts of your home, there are many specially designed dementia-friendly products that you can add to your parent’s space, such as:
- A digital clock with a large LCD that tells you the day, date and time — perfect for anyone who finds time orientation a challenge.
- A telephone with large buttons is beneficial for those with reduced dexterity and impaired memory.
- A reminder device that gives audio prompts to help people with memory problems. These devices can remind them to lock their front door, to check the oven or to take their medicine.
Finally, if you feel it’s time to add alterations to the home, such as grab rails in the bathroom, it’s important to get a needs assessment from your local council.
While these simple changes around the home may seem small, they can help a parent with dementia to continue living independently at home.
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