13 Jan Six Ways to Make Your Home Dementia Friendly
More and more people are discovering that a dementia diagnosis doesn’t have to mean leaving your home to be cared for. At Bedfordshire Supported Housing we provide individual home care packages for dementia sufferers from initial diagnosis, through to its advanced stages. In our experience, there’s no doubt that living in familiar surroundings, and maintaining independence, helps to slow down the progress of dementia symptoms.
Our focus as professional carers is always on respecting the wishes of our clients. If they express a desire to stay in their home whilst coping with dementia, we find ways to make that happen safely. Often BSH carers work collaboratively with family members to create a low risk environment that helps our client to maintain their independence, and daily routines. In this blog we share 6 suggestions for ways to create a dementia friendly home.
1. Create Signs and ‘How-To’ Guides
Dementia usually involves memory loss and difficulties with problem solving. Signage, using both words and pictures, can be invaluable, therefore. Make sure that every room is clearly signed, and all the kitchen cupboards as these can be particularly confusing. It’s also worth creating simple ‘how to’ guides for operating the computer, making tea, or using the TV remote.
2. Remove the Potential for Confusion Where Possible
We all get used to our homes and navigate them without thinking, but for someone with dementia they can by labyrinths. Think about ways in which to simplify getting around the house. Would it be possible to remove some of the doors? Are mats really necessary? Could they be replaced with a different floor covering?
3. Take Risk Seriously
When caring for someone with dementia, ongoing risk assessments are critical. What would be an acceptable risk in the early stages will become unacceptable as symptoms progress. BSH carers recommend:
- Walk-in shower in place of a bath
- Removal of floor mats
- Regular checks of smoke and CO2 alarms
- Ramps and grab rails installed on steps and stairs
4. Use Colour Creatively
Being able to locate the bathroom and toilet is essential to independent living. For this reason, we recommend that their door frames are painted bright colours such as red or orange. The same for switches and plugs. Try and keep the colour coding simple, and ensure that it provides a contrast with surrounding colours – the idea is to make certain objects, or doors stand out from the rest.
5. Avoid Reflective Surfaces
Reflections can be confusing if your brain is unable to ‘decode’ them easily. A dementia friendly home is one with a minimum of reflective surfaces, therefore. Full-length mirrors should go, as should ’triple mirror’ arrangements at bedroom dressing tables. Take a look at all the reflective surfaces in the kitchen, and think about replacing some of them with an opaque design.
6. Professional Prompts and Encounters
One of the concerns about people with dementia living on their own is that they become isolated, forget to eat, or neglect themselves. Whilst family members solve this in part, they will have multiple calls on their time. BSH home care can carry out a number of roles to minimise isolation, from checking in via phone at set times during the day, to preparing light meals, or encouraging clients to maintain hobbies or interests.
Would you find it helpful to speak to a professional carer about home care, or live-in care? Call us today, we’re a friendly, professional team who want to help – 01234 344729