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Creating a Dementia friendly home

Creating a Dementia friendly home

New Age Care News

Creating a Dementia friendly home

If a person has dementia, then staying in their home can feel safe and reassuring, leading to a better quality of life. In order to help them do this, adaptions may need to be made to the home to make it more dementia friendly.

Don’t do all these changes at once, as this can be distressing, rather introduce them subtlety over time, so the person with Dementia has time to get used to a change before experiencing another.

Home Adaptions

Good lighting in the home will help a person with dementia to see clearly and prevent confusion and falls. Natural light is best during the day, so make sure curtains are drawn back and that nothing is blocking the light from coming in, either from the inside, or outside, such as trees and bushes. For the evenings, ensure the home is brightly lit with higher wattage bulbs. Ensure stairs, hallways and bathrooms are particularly well lit and that switches are in easy to reach places. Automatic light sensors might also be helpful.

Ensure that all flooring in the house is safe to walk on and not a trip hazard. Fix any uneven surfaces and get rid of rugs and mats, not only because they may cause someone to trip, but because someone with dementia may see them as something else and become frightened.Shiny surfaces can also look wet and slippery, causing the person with dementia to not want to walk over it. Plain matt flooring in a different colour to the walls is usually the best.

Dementia can make a person feel confused and disoriented so having furniture that can be easily and clearly seen is important. Bright colours work well as does ensuring there is a contrast between furniture, walls and floors. Strong patterns such as stripes are best avoided as they can be disorientating.

Reflections can be confusing to people with dementia. Remove or cover unnecessary mirrors in the house and ensure curtains are closed at night to avoid reflections in the window.

Clear away Clutter
Clutter around the home can be a trip hazard as well as cause a person to become distracted and disorientated. Clear away anything that is not necessary lying on the floor or on surfaces such as tables and worktops. The less clutter you have the less chance of distraction and confusion for the person with dementia.

Labels & Signs
Put up signs on doors and label draws and cupboards to help with finding things. For example, put up a sign on the bathroom door and label kitchen cupboards and draws to make it easier to locate everyday items. Make sure these signs/labels are written in bold, easy to read print or use pictures if you think it would be more helpful.

Helpful dementia friendly additions
In some cases, it might be worthwhile replacing or bringing in equipment, to ensure the person with dementia is safe. Some useful tools could include:
- Clocks with large LCD screen
- Motion activated lighting
- Grab rails
- Flood prevention plugs
- A gas detector
- A cooker shut-off mechanism

Room by Room

Hallways & Stairs
- Ensure there is adequate lighting in the hall and stairs.
- Remove tripping hazards such as rugs from the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Keep hallways and stairs clear of unnecessary furniture and clutter.
- Ensure each step of the stairs is clearly marked.

Living Areas
- To reduce the chance of tripping, remove rugs, clear clutter and hide any visible
wires on walking routes.
- Remove or replace any low lying furniture such as coffee tables.
- Get rid of glass furniture as it can be harder to see.
- Ensure the person with dementia can easily access light switches and curtains.

- Keep benches clear of clutter.
- Label cupboards and draws so things are easy for the person with dementia to find.
- Install a gas detector to pick up if the stove has been left on.
- Use plastic appliances rather than stainless steel to reduce the risk of scalding.

- Have a night light or install motion sensor lighting to make things easier when the
person gets up in the night.
- Keep the path from the bed to the bathroom clear of clutter.
- Ensure the person’s bed is easy to get in and out of.
- Use bright coloured bedding to make it easier to see the edge of the bed.

- Ensure bright lighting in the bathroom or install motion activated lighting.
- Put grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or bath to help if the person is unsteady on their feet.
- Use contrasting colours for the toilet seat, grab bar and towels to make things easier to see.
- Install a flood prevention plug on the tap to stop flooding.
- Get rid of medicines that have expired or are not needed. Store and label remaining medicines clearly.
- A walk in shower and bath seat are more expensive adaptions but may help a person stay independent longer.

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