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10 Tips to Create a Dementia-Friendly Environment at Home

10 Tips to Create a Dementia-Friendly Environment at Home

Living with dementia can be challenging, not only for the individuals with dementia diagnosis but also for their caregivers and loved ones. No two people will experience the same symptoms, and the disease does not follow a clear progression, which makes it difficult to anticipate exactly how life will change over a period. 

Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder with symptoms of memory loss, confusion, slower mental processing, confabulation, and impacting daily activities. Creating an environment that supports the unique needs of individuals with dementia is essential for promoting their independence and quality of life. Samvedna Care emphasizes the importance of tailoring the living space to meet the specific requirements of each individual as an organization dedicated to dementia care services.

From improving lighting and labeling essential items to installing alarms and assistive technologies, there are numerous ways in which a home can be adapted to provide a safer and more comforting environment.  It is also important to remember every dementia experience is different; what works for one person may not work for someone else, so creating a comfortable, dementia–friendly environment may involve a little trial and error. 

Here are 10 tips to help you create a Dementia friendly home :

  1. Reducing Clutter and Simplifying Spaces: One of the primary considerations when creating a dementia-friendly home is minimizing clutter. Clutter can be overwhelming and confusing for individuals with dementia. Samvedna Care advises caregivers to streamline living spaces by removing unnecessary items and decorations. Keeping only essential items in sight helps reduce distractions and supports a more organized and comfortable living environment.
  2. Lighting: Good lighting helps people living with dementia to make sense of where they are and find the things they need. Natural light can make a real difference to people who often become confused about what time of day it is or experience sundowning symptoms. If natural light is lacking, installing dimmer light switches may help you adjust levels throughout the day instead. People with dementia will often find dark areas or shadows confusing or upsetting.

    During bedtime, make the bedroom a comfortable space that supports restful sleep. Make the room dark so that it is clear that it is nighttime and time for sleep. However, some people may become fearful of the dark, in which case you may wish to provide a nightlight to offer reassurance when needed.
  1. Floors: People diagnosed with dementia can become unsteady on their feet and may need to use a stick or walker to move around safely. It is recommended to avoid shiny, reflective or patterned flooring to avoid falls. It can take an older person a longer time to recover from a fall, so it is good practice to go through the entire home assessment. 
  2. Furniture and Fittings: Dementia can leave people feeling disoriented, even in familiar places, and certain shapes and patterns may add to this confusion. 

    They may also struggle to recognize their reflection in the mirror, which can be incredibly distressing. It is recommended to remove mirrors from their room or cover them up.  

    For the bathroom, install grab rails to help people with dementia get on and off the toilet and in and out of the bath or shower. Install traditional style or lever taps that are marked hot and cold.

    Change the bathroom door lock to one that can be opened from the outside in the event of an emergency.
  1. Creating a Comfortable and Familiar Atmosphere: Samvedna Care emphasizes the importance of incorporating familiar elements into the home environment. Surrounding individuals with dementia with meaningful items, such as family photos, mementos, and familiar objects, can provide a sense of continuity and comfort. Caregivers can also choose furniture that is both comfortable and familiar, creating a relaxed atmosphere that promotes well-being.
  2. Labeling and Organization: Labeling is a powerful tool for aiding recognition and reducing confusion. Samvedna Care suggests clearly labeling drawers, cabinets, and rooms using large, easy-to-read labels with images whenever possible. This simple yet effective strategy helps individuals with dementia navigate their living spaces with greater ease and independence. 
    Also, a person with dementia may forget some personal hygiene tasks; try displaying a list of tasks, such as brushing teeth and flushing after use, in a place that’s easy to see.  
  1. Incorporating Technology for Support: Samvedna Care recognizes the role of technology in enhancing the lives of individuals with dementia. GPS trackers and home monitoring systems can provide an added layer of safety, especially for those prone to wandering. Additionally, memory aids, such as electronic reminders and voice-activated devices, can support daily activities and foster a sense of independence.
  2. Noise Levels: Individuals with dementia may experience sensory overload, making quiet spaces essential for relaxation. Samvedna Care suggests creating designated areas with soft furnishings to absorb sound and provide a calm atmosphere. These spaces can serve as retreats where individuals can unwind and recharge. 
  3. Communication Strategies: Effective communication is vital when caring for someone with dementia. We emphasize using clear and simple language, maintaining eye contact, and being patient during interactions. Caregivers should strive to create an environment that fosters positive communication and minimizes frustration for both parties.
  4. Involving the Individual in Decision-Making: Samvedna Care advocates for involving individuals with dementia in decision-making whenever possible. Considering their preferences and needs when making changes to the home environment fosters a sense of autonomy. This collaborative approach also helps caregivers better understand the unique requirements of the individual and tailor the environment accordingly. Not sure if your loved one has Dementia? Take a self-assessment here https://map.samvednacare.com/

Creating a dementia-friendly environment at home is a multifaceted process that requires careful consideration and adaptation. Samvedna Care’s holistic approach to dementia care, encompassing both physical and emotional well-being, provides invaluable insights for caregivers. By implementing these practical strategies and incorporating personalized adjustments, individuals with dementia diagnosis can experience a supportive, safe, and comfortable living space that enhances their quality of life. Reach out to Samvedna Care to find out more about their caregiver enablement program.

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