How does Dementia affect our loved ones?
People diagnosed with dementia don’t just face fading memory as a problem. The disease affects different areas of the brain that control different functions and abilities of the body to do tasks. The senses especially ‘the vision’ and the ability to make simple judgements also become weak. With time, the patient’s brain fails to interpret things correctly, disabling the individual to see or comprehend things correctly. Unlike other diseases, dementia cannot be tackled by medication alone. It is something that the patient and the family living with them have to face and deal with daily.
Since you have chosen to read this article, it is obvious you want to help your loved one in the process of tackling the problems they are or they might be facing daily. If that’s so, then your goal should be to help them be as independent as possible. Most patients fear being a burden on their children and family. You must understand this, and should help them lead an independent life as much as possible.
How to make your home friendlier for someone with Dementia?
People suffering from dementia get stuck doing the most basic everyday tasks, which appear effortless for a normal healthy human being. Thus simple problems must be approached with simple solutions that make the life of the patient easier. In this article we will cover all the simple changes you can make around your house, giving a seamless living experience to the patient.
Put brighter light bulbs in and around the house.
This will help them move around and see things better.
Get a day and night clock for their bedroom to tell if it's the day, night or afternoon.
This might sound weird, but many times after waking up from a deep sleep, it becomes almost impossible for people with dementia to make out if it's evening or morning. The placement of this clock should be right in front of their bed. Hang the clock at a certain height that is comfortable to view for someone who is sitting or lying on the bed.
Add a distinctive element to your front gate or main door
Making it easier to distinguish their home entrance from the others. Similar looking entrances can be a problem for the patient, hence a unique element or colour on the door will help them identify which door leads to their house.
Painting the staircase railing with a bright colour.
Use a colour like yellow or red that will stand out against the colour of the wall and the staircase. As we previously mentioned, people with dementia face difficulty in differentiating between surfaces. Painting the railing with different colours will give a more enhanced 3D visual to the person, thus reducing the chances of an accident while moving the stairs easy.
Add a bright colour around the switchboards
For the same reason we mentioned in the point above. In most cases, the white switchboards blend with the white background of the wall. While it's easier for us to see, it's not the case for people with dementia. By painting the background of the switchboard or pasting a red or blue colour sticker it makes it easier for them to find where the switchboard is as it eliminates confusion and makes the switches look prominent against the bright background.
Add symbols like red and blue around the tap to indicate hot and cold water.
It’s no surprise that one day the patient might get confused while operating the knob while taking a shower. You wouldn’t want that to happen, hence we recommend putting these signs which prompts them to use the tap correctly.
Add signage on the door that describes what's behind each door.
This is especially useful for kitchen cupboards. Simply taking a picture of the inside of the cupboard or pasting stickers of the items that are behind each shutter of your kitchen storage will help the affected person at your home quickly understand which place to look for sugar or anything else in case they happen to forget it.
Have only one entrance to a room.
Some apartments or houses have multiple entrances for the kitchen or any other space. Shut one of the entrances if possible or change the appearance of one of the doors. The person would be directed to use only that door to enter the room and won't end up getting confused.
Keep the surrounding and circulation areas clutter-free.
In case there’s any extra furniture or anything that you observe can be a hindrance in movement, then we highly recommend you remove it to avoid tripping or slipping.
Changing the furniture colour.
The main goal is to keep colours that are visible far apart from each other. When it comes to furniture, see to it that it doesn’t blend with the colour of the surrounding background as the patient might find it difficult to find their seat. You can also achieve this by putting bright covers on the beds or sofa.
You’ll be surprised to see how these simple changes in your home, can be so helpful in tackling the everyday challenges patients with dementia face. We recommend continuing to make similar changes based on your observations ultimately helping the affected individual to lead a more independent and happy life.