If an older adult you adore has been diagnosed with dementia, your top concerns are probably his / her safety and wellbeing. The good news is that with a couple of adjustments around the house, it is possible to create a dementia-friendly environment that encourages continued independence for your family member, while keeping safety top of mind.
For seniors with dementia, consistency is key. This means assisting with visual and written cues and providing plenty of time and instructions, when needed, to help a senior loved perform tasks and maintain independence. By thinking through the tasks where assistance may be needed – such as the steps to follow during a morning routine — items like toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, and washcloth can be positioned in easy-to-use locations that can help your senior loved one maintain independence.
Making your home dementia-friendly is easy when you follow the ABCs: allow it to be Accessible, Bright, and Calm with these tips:
Nurture independence by enhancing accessibility according to the individual’s specific challenges. For instance:
- Label cabinets, the refrigerator, doors, along with other areas of the home the senior may frequent with pictures or words to spell out whatever they might wish to gain access to.
- Place commonly-used items in prominent, easy-to-reach locations.
- Minimize any tripping hazards, such as throw rugs and electrical cords, to ensure clear pathways.
Lighting is an essential component to think about for all those with dementia:
- Keep rooms well lit, making use of natural lighting as much as possible, or the highest wattage bulb recommended for the senior’s light fixtures.
- Make sure lighting is purposefully placed to remove shadows that may result in the senior feeling distressed.
- 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 senior feel secure.
Designating a place of refuge for the senior to de-stress can be extremely beneficial. Include:
- Several key items or activities which are typically comforting to the senior: a favorite photo album to look through, a stuffed animal or pillow to hug, etc.
- Quiet, calming music.
- A well-liked scent that evokes peace, such as vanilla or lavender.
One of the best ways to help a cherished older adult you love who has been diagnosed with dementia is to partner with a dependable home care agency like New Horizons In-Home Care. As a top provider of elder care in Albany and the surrounding communities, our caregivers are specially trained to understand the needs of those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and they can help make your home a safe and calming space. What’s more, our care team can help keep your loved one 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 ask about a free in-home consultation to learn more about our professional, creative care for individuals with dementia, call New Horizons In-Home Care at any one of our local offices: Eugene: 541-687-8851; Corvallis: 541-752-9059; Salem: 503-400-3000; or Florence: 541-997-8115.