Living with dementia can be challenging, both for individuals and their loved ones as they struggle to live independently in the comfort of their own home. Living with dementia can significantly affect their everyday lives and as the disease develops they may not be able to perform simple tasks on their own leading to increased assistance from family and friends.
As the condition progresses, it becomes essential to create a dementia-friendly environment that promotes comfort, safety and a sense of familiarity. If your loved one in particular has memory loss or finds it difficult to learn new things, then they can forget that they’re in their own home, as well as where things are located and how household items work.
This piece will explore how to create a dementia-friendly environment, as well as how our dementia carers can help make your loved one’s home accessible and familiar to them.
What is a Dementia-friendly Environment?
A dementia-friendly environment refers to a living space that’s thoughtfully designed, both physically and socially, to meet the needs of a person who is living with dementia.
The space aims to reduce confusion, agitation and disorientation by providing a supportive and comforting atmosphere for them. By making simple modifications to a living space, it can significantly improve the quality of life for loved ones who have dementia or other dementia-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Add simple signs to areas within the home
Clear and simple signage can be incredibly helpful for people with dementia. Placing labels or signs on doors, drawers and cupboards can assist in locating essential items and navigating through various areas of the home.
Use contrasting colours and large, easy-to-read fonts to ensure visibility. Putting up one word signs or pictures, such as FOOD, KITCHEN or TOILET with arrows pointing towards those rooms will help ensure that they don’t get lost. These visual cues provide a sense of familiarity and enable your loved one to maintain their independence in their own home for longer.
Make items accessible by removing clutter
Excessive clutter can confuse and overwhelm individuals with dementia, leading to increased stress and frustration.
Organising belongings, removing unnecessary items and ensuring that frequently used objects your loved one uses are easily accessible throughout their home is essential. By simplifying their living space, it promotes a sense of calm and helps individuals maintain a sense of control.
Reduce unwanted background noise
Background noise can be particularly distracting and unsettling for individuals with dementia. Laminated and tiled flooring, carpets and curtains can absorb background noise, thus making it less distressing for them.
Reduce noise levels by keeping the television or radio at a moderate volume and minimising external sounds. Consider using soft, soothing music to create a calming ambiance. By reducing auditory distractions, your loved one can focus better and experience a more peaceful environment.
Include photographs to trigger memories
Photographs hold significant emotional value and can serve as powerful memory triggers. Displaying familiar pictures throughout the home can evoke memories, prompt conversations, and create a sense of belonging.
Choose meaningful photographs from various stages of your loved one’s life and place them in prominent locations, such as the living room or bedroom for example. These visual reminders help individuals with dementia connect to their personal history and maintain a sense of identity.
Feature more easy-to-understand household items
As dementia progresses, individuals may face difficulties understanding the purpose and use of everyday household items.
Consider replacing complex appliances or gadgets with simpler alternatives that have clear instructions. For example, using large-button telephones, easy-to-read clocks, or colour-coded kitchen utensils can enhance independence and reduce frustration.
Adapting the environment to suit cognitive abilities promotes a greater sense of autonomy and confidence among your loved one.
How Sova Healthcare Can Help Create a Dementia-Friendly Environment for Your Loved One
Creating a dementia-friendly environment requires careful planning and consideration. At Sova Healthcare, we understand the challenges faced by individuals with dementia and their families. Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals specialises in dementia care and can provide invaluable support in creating a safe, comfortable dementia-friendly environment.
Sova Healthcare offers a fresh, modern approach to healthcare, offering a range of services across England. From Birmingham, Leicester and Redbridge to Harrogate, Halifax and Bradford, our healthcare professionals strive to provide the very best care for clients around the country.
Contact one of our regional teams today to learn more about our dementia care and other healthcare services that we offer.