Three ways to make your home dementia friendly
When a loved one receives a dementia diagnosis, on top of the uncertainty and fear that can bring, the question of what they will and will not need aid with inevitably arises. Having your loved one receive care within their own home can alleviate a good deal of that uncertainty: just having them live out their life in that level of secure familiarity will do wonders for their changing mental state. However, there are many ways to aid that transition further. Here are 3 methods that can give your loved ones a clearer sense of their surroundings and you peace of mind for the future.
Simplifying and Decluttering
The need for a good decluttering of your loved one’s space is two-fold, it can reduce confusion and remove some previously unseen tripping hazards or fire risks.
This decluttering can be something as simple as ensuring crockery and kitchen utensils are all plain and of a distinctive colour to not be lost in the kitchen space or adding labels to appliances and to drawers to make navigating the space easier.
Having plain furniture and removing crazy patterns can also reduce confusion for someone with dementia. Talking with your loved one about a potential hazard before moving them can ensure it does not happen again. Block-coloured furniture or plain blankets to cover that floral patterned sofa or the vivid chequered armchair in the corner will help to ensure that your loved one can understand their space more easily.
Remind them of the past
Displaying photos of memories and loved ones is a sure-fire way of triggering happy memories and encouraging thoughtful engagement from your loved one. These photos should not be overbearing but used sparingly around the home where your loved one spends most of their time.
A reminder that they were and never will be alone.
Comforting and safe additions to the home
Bedtime and sleeping can be a huge change when someone is diagnosed with dementia. Most of us wake up confused and disorientated in the night, so think what it could be like for someone with dementia!
Labelling the door to the bathroom and bedroom can make those night-time shuffles to the toilet clearer and installing a cosy night light in the bedroom or hallway can be a comforting guide for them too.
Important contact numbers left by your loved one’s bedside can be a simple thing to do and will be a welcome sight for them if they wake up confused or distressed in the middle of the night. As well as pressure sensors near the bed, these two combined can be an unobtrusive method to ensure you can keep track of how they are coping with sleep.
These additions to the home are not huge overhauls and if implemented clearly to your loved one will make them considerably safer around the home and will maintain a line of communication between you and your loved one when you cannot be with them in person.
Tips for caregivers
The conquest of an elderly loved one's home who may need care can feel like a daunting and slow task, and it is never a guarantee of 100% safety; but as a friend, carer, or a family member of this person it is completely normal to want to do everything and anything you can to aid in their wellbeing.
But you do not need to rush these things... In fact, this might make things worse.
Dementia is worsened by sudden unfamiliarity; creating safe changes to the home, done gradually, and explained clearly to your loved one is the best way to go about things. Their home is precious and there may be a status quo that needs to be slowly chipped away at for the sake of their ongoing safety and mental stability.
And finally, do not be afraid to ask for help. If you need official support or just a bit of advice on how to best approach your loved one’s situation, your local Premier Care branch are here for you whenever you need us. No matter how small a problem it may seem.