As our loved ones age, taking care of them becomes intertwined more and more with our everyday lives. When they develop diseases like dementia, it often brings a slew of unforeseen changes which we must adapt to quickly and this often includes making changes to their home environment. Dementia causes changes to the person’s judgement, behaviour, sense of time and place, physical ability and anticipating these changes will allow you to minimize the risk of potential injuries and accidents.
Adapting a person with dementia’s home can allow them to stay in a familiar and comforting environment without worry and reduces the stress for everyone involved. The list of adaptions is endless but there’s many things you can do to dementia proof their homes and allow them to continue living independently.
1.Reduce clutter and simplify walkways
It’s important to ensure that walkways are clear and not blocked. Remove rugs and carpets to prevent falls as the person with dementia could see this as an object and trip or fall. If you’re worried about falls, think about purchasing a personal alarm for them. Perform a walkthrough to identify the different things that could cause injury.
2. Put away dangerous appliances and toxic substances
Remove any electrical appliances from the bathroom and kitchen and lock scissors and knives away in a secure place. Secure lock cabinets that contain medications, chemicals and any other toxic substances that could be mistaken for food. You may want to consider getting stove knob covers or removing them altogether and switching to devices that use heat instead
3. Utilize child-proof locks and door knob covers
Being able to rationalize between safe and unsafe may not always be possible for a person with dementia so it’s vital to lock doors that lead to areas that contain tools, equipment or chemicals that may be dangerous. On the flip side, removing bedroom and bathroom locks may be necessary to prevent accidentally locking themselves in.
The way a person with dementia’s home is lit can have an impact on their visibility. Changes in light levels can be disorienting so make sure their home is evenly and well-lit, particularly in the evenings. Night lights can be handy in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms and stairs to prevent accidents. Reduce glare by covering polished surfaces, mirrors and glass tops.
5. Colour contrast
Contrast can be beneficial in helping people with dementia distinguish space and depth within their home, having contrasting colour furniture to the walls will make objects stand out more but avoid using dark colours as these can often look like a black blur and be disorienting.
Labels can help determine what’s inside a room, cupboard or drawers. For example, a sign with a picture of a toilet on the bathroom door. Remember as well to CHECK labels on food! People with dementia often develop issues with taste and smell and are unable to identify fresh food so routinely check to see all their food is still within date.
Of course, even with adaptations, sometimes your loved one will require a little help - and here at Secure Healthcare Solutions, we want to help you or your loved one to stay at home in your comfortable environement, which is why we offer a range of home care options, from respite care to give you a break, to holiday help to enable you to take your loved one away. Our fully trained and qualified staff are always here to help you. Find out how we can assist with care at home.