Written by Active Minds on Sunday the 7th of October 2018.
Whether you have dementia, or you have a loved one with dementia who lives with you or is a frequent visitor, making sure that your home is dementia friendly ensures that anyone living with the disease is safe and secure as they move around the environment.
Here are a number of ways you can ensure your home is dementia friendly:
Whilst rugs and mats may look great on the floor of a room, they can actually become a serious trip hazard for people with dementia. Similarly, they can also cause confusion as people with dementia may think that they need to step over what they believe is an ‘obstruction’ on the floor. Shiny floors can cause similar perception problems, with people thinking the floor is wet or slippery and hesitating to walk across them. Clear, plain-coloured matt flooring works best.
Good lighting is key! Ensure there is enough natural light in your home, helping people to see clearly, as well as making them aware of the time of day. Try to keep bedrooms dark at night to help with sleep. Where possible avoid shadows and dark areas in your home, as this can lead to hallucinations or misperceptions.
Whilst you don’t need to have a complete overhaul of your furniture there are some changes you should make. Avoid stripes and patterns as this can cause confusion. People with dementia can sometimes struggle with seeing different colours, so try to pick furniture that is bright, bold and has contrasting colours to help define each piece.
Eating and Drinking
Use plates and cups with bold colours that contrast with the food, making it easier to see what is on the plate. To help make cooking easy and enjoyable, store food in clear containers, with labels if possible, allowing people to see what is inside quickly.
Pictures and signs around the house can help people with dementia identify where to find things, or what room is what, limiting confusion and disorientation.
Excessive clutter in a house can make the environment feel too busy, causing a person to feel distracted and become confused. Similarly, loud background noise from TVs or radios can be hard to deal with, so if they are not in use, turn them off.
Whilst having a TV and radio in your home can offer entertainment, it is a good idea to have a selection of other activities and games that not only help engage a person with dementia, but also offer a calming and relaxing pastime.
There is a huge range of equipment available to help making the move to a dementia friendly home just that little bit easier. For example, equipment that is designed to help with any mobility issues such as grabs rails, that help you walk from room to room or upstairs easier, or walk-in baths, which allow you to get in and out with ease. Additionally, there are a number of sensors available to, which let you know if the water in your bath or sink has been left running or if the temperature is too high or low.
For more detailed information, The Alzheimer’s Society have created a comprehensive, in-depth guide on how to make your home dementia friendly – take a look at it here.