With the increase of caregivers lending helping hands, there is an increase of seniors is staying at home. Although their quality of life can be optimized by keeping them there, a declining mind may heighten the already-present risk of falls and injuries. But with these nine simple tips, you can build a dementia-friendly home to keep seniors safe and content to their fullest potential!
With a change in thinking and judgment, environmental modifications pose great consideration. And if other health conditions impose on compromised brain chemistry, offering your loved one with the utmost care may be a stressful and overwhelming task. While the complexity of dementia is evident, building a dementia-friendly home can be simple with these nine tips.
Seniors are already at an increased risk for falls and if their wandering starts to increase with dementia, their likelihood for tripping is considerably heightened. Start by decluttering high-traffic routes, primarily hallways and frequently utilized areas. In addition to eliminating unnecessary items in the paths, make sure the floor’s surface is smooth and the edges on rugs are flat.
2. Go Bright
Especially if visually-impaired, offer bright lights throughout the house, but particularly in well-lived areas. Try offering natural lighting throughout the day by opening all blinds and curtains and shutting them at nighttime to assist in normal wake-sleep cycles. Also keep a light in the bathroom throughout the night just in case they may need to use it.
3. Adapt the Bathroom
Install grab bars next to toilets and bathtubs along with offering nonslip mats in showers. A sturdy seat and handheld shower nozzle can also offer your loved one safety, especially in slippery bathtub areas.
4. Offer Color
Varying colors offers visual acuity for seniors. Items such as towels, walls and floors, and stairs better differentiates between surfaces and items, reducing potential confusion and falls. Embrace bright colors to assist in their finding a safe walking environment, but also avoid the use of extreme, confusing patterns, especially on floors.
5. Label Commonly Used Items
If vision and reading ability is not compromised, feel free to use word labels to assist in item identification and placement. But especially if visually-impaired and in the later stages of dementia, utilize picture labels to locate items disclosed in pantries and drawers, including dishware, socks, and activity books.
6. Keep Important Items Close
Keeping important items in the same area can help seniors locate them with much more ease. Additionally, place objects in a well-recognized spot such as the living room or near the kitchen. Items that deserve large attention and consideration include labeled medications, prescription glasses, assistive devices, and a telephone with identifiable numbers.
7. Set Out Clothing
Setting out daily clothing cuts one more task out of the seniors’ day and may deter added stress. Pay attention to daily weather and offer the appropriate clothes, also including sturdy, non-slip shoes. Laying out a warm robe and comfortable, non-skid socks during nighttime hours can also assist in improved sleeping patterns.
8. Embrace Technology
There are a number of technological advances that can assist in modifying the home environment into a dementia-friendly safe net. For instance, in the Dementia-Friendly Home app, “Carers are placed in a virtual home that they can explore at their own pace, learning how to make it more suitable for people with dementia. Each object within the home is interactive, allowing carers to immediately see and hear the impact simple modifications may have for a person living with dementia .” Other valuable technological resources may include medication organizers and reminders.
9. Seek Out and Accept Support
Caregiving does not have to be a solitary effort, but rather conjoined with other supportive caregivers themselves. Whether it be within an inner circle or an external support group, collaborating with others can provide essential tips and motivation, ultimately enriching the care you personally provide while also inspiring yours!