Health

Creating A Dementia Friendly Home

As you might know, I spent almost 7 years working in palliative care, and working with dementia patients, before becoming a full time mum. I have always kept a close ear to the ground in regards to the care industry and recently came across a group of homes called Sunrise Senior Living – my nearest home is Elstree, so unless another move is on the cards, I can’t see me getting my dream job any time soon.

Anyway, after hearing so many great things about the homes (and really wanting a job at one!) I am pleased to publish this guest post on behalf of Syeda, of Sunrise Senior Living, who has written this piece on creating a dementia friendly environment.

Creating A Dementia Friendly Home

We roam around in our home freely: cooking in the kitchen, cleaning to having a quick shower. We do these things without sparing a second thought. However, if a member of the household gets diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the activities that come as second nature to us can potentially be harmful. This article will outline points to help carers create that peaceful and easy atmosphere.
Thinking about the following significant stages of dementia will help you to make your loved one’s environment dementia friendly:

• Weakening of the senses
• Confusion and memory loss
• Judgement – losing grip of household items
• Acting out of character
• Physical ability –becoming dependent upon a wheelchair or walker in order to around or losing balance

Please note that these stages may not take place overnight, but can happen nonetheless.
Here is what you can do to make Dementia sufferers life easier within the house:

Encourage familiarity

This may be obvious, even so make the house comfortable and homely. Perhaps display familiar photos and pieces of art. Although, avoid making the home too restrictive as this can cause distress by making them feel alienated in their own home.

Assess the home

Walk around the home and identify which objects in the bathroom, kitchen or living room could be harmful? Are there any trip hazards? Reflect on their mobility; is there enough room for manoeuvre? Or is there just too much clutter? Simply removing a rug by the door reduces the risk of a fall.

Adapt

Rather than introducing new, safer systems into their routines, adapt what’s already there to encourage memory.

In some cases, Dementia sufferers forget to eat. To prevent this from happening, there are suggestions from fitting glass cupboard doors to placing snacks around the house.

It isn’t always necessary to fit a stair lift as soon as Dementia is diagnosed, as the part of the brain that remembers skills is one of the last to be affected. However, it is best to make sure stair carpet is firmly fixed and that it is well lit. If a stair lift is necessary, and would mean independence remains high in the home, you may want to get a stairlift from Access BDD.

Fit handrails in the bathroom and make sure chemicals are out of sight and reach.

Simplify activities and journeys

Usually, accidents happen when a person is over stretched or rushed. Try to shorten the distance and activity times for each part of their daily tasks. Create a usual space for their essentials, such as slippers and reading glasses. Also, reduce clothing to a minimum and label essentials.

Consider professional help

Finally, it isn’t possible to have precautions for everything, as a senior’s needs are ever-changing. But if you find that trips, falls and accidents are becoming too much of a regular occurrence and it is becoming difficult for you, it may be time to consider outside help.

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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