As our loved ones age, their needs change, especially when they begin to face health challenges. Simple tasks, like finding their belongings or navigating the home, can become increasingly difficult for seniors. For those with dementia, these everyday tasks pose unique challenges. That's why it's crucial to consider making our homes dementia-friendly as soon as we notice these struggles.
The Importance of Dementia-Friendly Homes
Dementia is a condition that impacts various cognitive functions, and one key aspect is spatial memory. Individuals with dementia often find it challenging to learn and remember routes within familiar environments. To enhance their well-being, it's essential to make significant changes in our homes. You can find valuable insights and guidelines on creating dementia-friendly spaces from Alzheimer's Association - Home Safety and Dementia, a trusted resource for dementia care and home modifications.
Adapting Your Space for Dementia
Here's how you can transform your living space to be more accommodating for people with dementia.
1. Choosing the Right Colours
Selecting the appropriate colors for different areas of your home is a critical first step. Ms. Koh Hwan, the Director of Community Enablement at Dementia Singapore, recommends using colors that create the right ambiance for specific spaces. Pastel and wood tones are excellent choices for living rooms, while deep colors like red can stimulate appetite and brain activity, making them suitable for dining areas. These color choices not only create a welcoming environment but also help in distinguishing various areas within the home.
When applying contrasting colors, consider using brighter colors for items like toilet seats, making it easier for individuals with dementia to see where they should stand. Additionally, using anti-slip mats in contrasting colors in the bathroom can provide extra safety. It's essential to strike a balance when it comes to color contrast; too much contrast can be perceived as obstacles by those with dementia and hinder their movement.
2. Selecting the Right Materials
The materials you choose for your home play a significant role in making it dementia-friendly. Opt for anti-slip and anti-reflective materials to reduce confusion and accidents. Glossy surfaces can be misleading to individuals with dementia, as they may mistake reflections for water or other hazards. Matte materials are a safer choice, including plain tiles that don't have complex patterns.
Additionally, consider installing senior-friendly features, such as levered door handles and taps with levers, which are easier to use and grip.
3. Adapting as Needed
As your loved ones' cognitive abilities change, you should continue to adapt your home accordingly. Make sure that potentially dangerous items or areas are out of their reach. Cover power points and wires or use plastic covers to reduce risks. For those with mobility issues, install grab rails, but consult an occupational therapist for guidance on the appropriate measurements.
To improve safety and convenience, consider incorporating smart home appliances, like motion-sensing lights, which can automatically turn off lights when they are forgotten.
4. Consider Renovation
Renovations may be necessary to create a dementia-friendly home. You can start with minor changes, such as placing clocks, calendars, family photos, newspapers, and puzzles in easily accessible locations to help with timekeeping and engagement. Labeling rooms and cabinets with signage can also aid in navigation, especially when it comes to finding the way to and from the bathroom.
One often overlooked aspect of creating a dementia-friendly space is minimizing clutter. Maintaining consistent locations for items around the home can enhance independence, making it easier for seniors with dementia to move around and perform tasks on their own.
Seek Expert Help
The thought of renovating your home can be overwhelming, but you don't have to do it alone. Professionals like those at Sendhelper can assist you in transforming your home into a dementia-friendly space. Download the Sendhelper app, visit the handyman service section, and chat with one of their experts to get a free quote. They can take care of the renovation process, ensuring your home is a safe and comfortable environment for your loved ones. Plus, enjoy a 10% discount on your first booking with Sendhelper.