Dementia is not a specific condition; instead, it’s an overall term that extends to a group of symptoms affiliated with a weakening of memory. This may reach to such an extent that a person finds it hard to do basic stuff and interfere with daily life. Alzheimer is the most common type of dementia.
According to statistics, around 5.8 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s. It includes 5.6 million people age 65 and older and around 0.2 million under the age of 65 that have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.
In regards to dementia, the way you develop and layout your house can have a significant impact on a person suffering from dementia. The major symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss or difficulty in doing regular routine tasks, can change the life of dementia patient. They may forget about elementary things, their surroundings, even where they are and what they were about to do.
How Dementia-Friendly House Makes a Difference
The people who have dementia not only need special care and attention about their diet and exercise but also sleep as sleep is as important as diet and exercise. Another critical aspect which needs appropriate consideration is about the place where they live either their home or a community. It is an adverse aspect that many times, dementia patients feel trapped in their own homes. They also suffer from the stigma that is that they are a burden to their family and society; therefore prefer staying home as much as possible.
Research has shown that 35% of dementia patients leave their house once a week, and about 10% go out once in a month. People with dementia lose their sense of independence and become more dependent on others most of the time. This not only affects their life quality but also causes other health problems.
Ways to Develop Your House as a Dementia-Friendly Place
There are some basic things you can follow that will help dementia patient at your house to continue living happily and independently. Below, a list of convenient and practical ways is briefly discussed:
1. Good lighting
This is the first and foremost aspect which helps not only people with dementia but also old aged people in general. They get to benefit from good lighting at home, which makes it easy for them to see and recognize things and reduce the risk of falls resulting in injury.
Apart from lightening, make arrangements to minimize blaze, reflections, and shadows so that things do not appear obscure or dark. Benefiting from natural light is also a great choice for better and even light. It can be arranged by following these tips:
• Keep curtains open at day time
• Remove all necessary blinds and nets
• If any obstacle such as trees and hedges overshadow the window then they must be removed
2. Curtail disturbing noise
Loud sounds and disturbing noises make not only people with dementia annoyed and uncomfortable but in general all people of old age. Therefore, arrangements must be made to curtail extra noise in the house so that they feel calm and relaxed. Rugs, heavy drapes, and outside walls with furniture can reduce ambient noise at home. Flooring should not be of laminate or vinyl as walking on it creates the noise of footsteps. This sound magnifies if a person who wears a hearing aid and will cause disruption.
There are some other small things which can be taken care of to curtail disturbing noise such as to switch off television or radio if nobody is using it. It happens when dementia patients forget to switch off the device and leave the room.
3. Easily seen furniture
Furniture occupies the most part of any house. Keeping it disorganized consideration can be hard for dementia patients. As dementia affects the sense of differentiating colors, using bright and contrasting colors will help to see the furniture easily. For instance, if the wall color is white or sky blue, then brown furniture will make it more visible. One thing must that be avoided that is using stripes or patterns which can be very much distracting.
Apart from the color of the furniture, its arrangement also needs proper attention. Hence keeping things simple would be the best approach. It may happen that this arrangement will look too simple in regards to the latest trends, but convenience must be the priority for dementia-friendly places.
4. Flooring should be safe
This needs great attention as it may cause falls or slips and result in injuries or fractures. It is recommended not to use rugs or mats on the floor as it can be confusing for dementia patients. Use of polished or reflective flooring can also be distractive as the dementia patient may find it hard to walk over it.
The most appropriate flooring for such purpose is matt with contrasting colors with the walls. If the color of the floor and walls are similar, a person with dementia will find it hard to differentiate between them.
5. Naming and signs
People who have dementia usually find things hard to remember. In confusion, they might switch on the light instead of turning on the fan. In such cases, writing names on each switch can be easier to recognize the functions it serves. Similarly, if a house is covering a relatively large area, then putting signs on pathways can help to reach to their desired place.
With weaken memory, dementia patient may find it hard to remember the things kept in the kitchen. Just to find sugar, they may go through the entire kitchen. Hence placing signs for basic stuff such as sugar, tea, salt can be placed on the cabinet, where these things are kept. Another convenient approach would be see-through cabinets to see what’s inside by dementia patients.
6. Simple and non-slippery bathroom
”Keeping stuff which is rarely used or unnecessary for older people is not recommended in the bathroom. It must be kept as simple as possible, having only basic things which are of daily use,” a piece of advice by John Mark, head of research department at Crowd Writer. It will make things easier for dementia patients to use the bathroom without getting puzzled. In addition to that, hang a picture or sign on the bathroom door so that people with dementia could easily find it.
Some other tips are:
• Removing the toilet lid as it makes it easier to identify
• Towels and toilet rolls with a contrasting color to the walls can also be helpful
• Slippery bathroom flooring may cause more slips and falls as it gets wet, so flooring must be safe and non-slip such as ceramic or porcelain tile
7. Open air spaces
This is last but for sure not the least aspect of developing your house a dementia-free place. Open air space is the best therapy for any patient. Being close to nature such as grass, plants, trees, sunlight, open sky, watching moon and stars at night, sitting in the backyard garden can bring happiness and strength to patients. Thus, people with dementia can go outside in the open air to relax and also to exercise.
Create a garden and let dementia patients do all the stuff, from planting, picking, pruning, to weeding. They would enjoy seeing the plants growing turning into trees. Another tip is having a focal point in the garden, such as a small fountain and placing seating around it.
With all these aspects mentioned above, it becomes highly significant to develop your house, which provides ease and convenience to people with dementia. If your parents are suffering from this condition, they need your help. Your house must be a place where people with dementia are understood, respected, and support in their walk of life. The places should be organized in such a way that living at home makes them feel safe and stay independent.
Stella Lincoln is a freelance Writer at KingEssay and helps students in composing Nursing Dissertations. She holds a Master’s degree in health education. She possesses a strong background in a wide variety of strategies used to educate individuals and societies about improving health.
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