If a loved one has recently been diagnosed with dementia, your top priority is probably his or her safety and wellbeing. The familiarity of being able to remain living in the comfort of their own home rather than face a move away to a facility is important, but how do you ensure continued safety and wellbeing as the disease progresses? One of the first things you can do to ensure a safer environment is to make a few adjustments around the house. It is possible to make the home dementia-friendly, which can encourage continued independence for the older adult you love.
For people with any type of dementia, consistency is key. This means assisting with visual and written cues and providing plenty of time and instructions, when needed, to help him or her perform tasks and maintain independence. By thinking through the tasks where assistance might be needed – for example, the steps to follow during a morning routine — things like toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, and washcloth can be put in easy-to-use locations which will help prompt a senior to recall what he or she needs to do next.
Creating a dementia-friendly house is not hard when you follow the ABCs: ensure it is Accessible, Bright, and Calm by using these tips:
Nurture independence by boosting accessibility based on the individual’s particular challenges. As an example:
- Place commonly-used items in prominent, easy-to-reach locations.
- Label cabinets, the refrigerator, doors, as well as other regions of the house the individual may frequent with pictures or words to describe whatever they could wish to gain access to.
- Minimize any tripping hazards, such as throw rugs and electrical cords, to ensure clear pathways.
Lighting is an essential component to consider for anyone with dementia:
- Keep rooms well lit, making use of natural lighting as much as possible, or the highest wattage bulb recommended for the older adult’s light fixtures.
- Keep blinds/curtains closed in the evening to help minimize disturbing window reflections that could be misinterpreted as an intruder and also to help the older adult feel secure.
- Always make sure lighting is purposefully placed to eliminate shadows which can cause the senior distress.
Designating a place of retreat for your loved one to de-stress can be extremely helpful. Include:
- Several key items or activities which are typically soothing for the older adult: a stuffed animal or pillow to hug, a well-liked photo album to look through, etc.
- A favorite scent that evokes peace, such as vanilla or lavender.
- Quiet, soothing music.
One of the most effective techniques to help an older adult who has been diagnosed with dementia is to partner with a dependable home care agency like Endeavor In Home Care. Our caregivers are specially trained to understand the needs of those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and will help to make your home a safe and calming space. What’s more, our care team can help your family member remain active and engaged with specially designed memory care activities, reminiscing, and outings to see friends. For family caregivers, our reliable respite care services allow you to have peace of mind while taking time for yourself.
For more home modification tips and ideas, or to request a free in-home consultation for more information on our experienced, creative care for people diagnosed with dementia, reach out to Endeavor In Home Care, the leaders in Mesa respite care and throughout the surrounding communities, at (480) 498-2324.