If one or both of your parents have received a dementia diagnosis, it can make you feel pretty helpless. However, there are small changes you can make in the home to create a more pleasant and helpful environment for your family. Small changes could make it easier for someone with dementia to process, reason, and even remember.
Simplifying the environment
There are many reasons to opt for a clutter-free home, but did you know that it can help to reduce agitation for those with dementia?
So why not have a look around your home and sell, donate, and trash any unwanted items? This makes it easier to find the items that are used most regularly. It could also be beneficial to consider the layout of rooms in your home. Could they be simplified or streamlined?
Creating clearly defined spaces can help seniors with dementia understand where they are and what they are supposed to be doing. This can include creating designated areas for meals, exercise, and socialization.
Think about light
It's a good idea to provide bright lighting in key areas, such as the kitchen or the bathroom. You could also place night lights in key places throughout your home to help seniors navigate during the nighttime. Try to consider commonly used routes, such as the bedroom to the bathroom. This can help to avoid confusion and disorientation.
Using visual cues and keepsakes
Visual cues can be used to help seniors with dementia gain a deeper understanding of their surroundings. This can include labeling rooms and items, using color coding, and providing maps or diagrams of the home. To do this most helpfully, you should aim to observe where your loved one might be struggling and when these visual cues could be beneficial. Visual cues around the home can include keepsakes and photographs that evoke positive memories. It could help them to remember happy memories which you can reminisce about together.
Avoid confusing patterns
Try to avoid having lots of contrasting patterns in the home, as they can be confusing and make things harder to see. Avoid this visual confusion by opting for contrasting colors instead. Contrasting colors can be used to make useful objects appear more obvious to a senior. With the wide range of bold homewares on the market, this doesn't mean you'll need to compromise on style.
Add safety features
Making your living space a little safer can help reduce the risk of falls and accidents. This includes removing trip hazards, installing handrails, and making sure that the home is well-ventilated. Try to leave doors inside the home open, so someone with dementia can easily see where to go.
Encouraging independence can help seniors with dementia feel more in control of their environment. This could include providing simple tasks for seniors to complete, such as folding laundry or setting the table, something that helps to make them feel useful and involved. When considering how to deal with parents with dementia, it can be beneficial to ask a medical professional for help. You are not alone, and expert guidance could make a world of difference to both you and your loved ones.
As dementia progresses, a person's needs will change. A dementia-friendly environment should be able to adapt to these changes and provide the support that a person needs to live safely and comfortably.