Designing a dementia-friendly home involves making modifications to the living environment to enhance safety, comfort, and independence for individuals living with dementia. These changes are designed to minimize confusion, reduce anxiety, and prevent accidents. Here are some household design changes that can help:
1. Clear and Uncluttered Layout:
Remove excess furniture and clutter to create clear pathways through the home. This
reduces the risk of tripping and minimizes confusion.
2. Good Lighting:
Adequate lighting is essential. Install brighter lights and use natural light whenever possible. Ensure that switches are easily accessible and clearly labelled.
3. Color Contrasts:
Use color contrasts to define different areas in the home. For example, paint doors and walls different colors to help with wayfinding.
4. Visible Signage:
Label rooms and doors with large, clear signs or pictures. This can help individuals recognize different areas within the home.
5. Sensory-Friendly Decor:
Choose soothing and familiar decor. Avoid busy patterns or shiny surfaces that may cause confusion or agitation.
6. Secure Exits:
Ensure that all exits are secure to prevent wandering. Install locks or alarms on doors and gates, if necessary.
7. Bedroom Safety:
In the bedroom, avoid bunk beds and use low or adjustable bed heights. Bed rails and fall mats can provide added safety.
8. Kitchen Modifications:
Keep kitchen items organized and accessible. Remove any hazardous items or lock them away. Use safety knobs on stoves.
9. Bathroom Safety:
Install grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathroom. Use contrasting colors for fixtures and flooring to make them easily visible.
10. Non-Glare Windows:
Use non-reflective or frosted glass on windows to reduce glare and prevent confusion caused by reflections.
11. Easy-to-Use Fixtures:
Choose fixtures with levers instead of knobs. This includes faucets, light switches, and door handles.
12. Safety Gates:
Use safety gates to block off dangerous areas or staircases. Ensure they are easy to open for caregivers.
13. Safety Flooring:
Opt for slip-resistant flooring to reduce the risk of falls. Carpeting or non- slip tiles can be safer than hardwood or polished floors.
14. Personalized Memory Aids:
Incorporate memory aids like bulletin boards, calendars, or digital picture frames to help individuals remember important information or events.
15. Remote Monitoring Systems:
Consider using remote monitoring systems with motion sensors to alert caregivers if the individual moves around the house during the night.
16. Adaptive Furniture:
Choose furniture with rounded edges to prevent injuries from bumping into sharp corners. Adjustable and specialized furniture may also be helpful.
17. Safety in the Yard:
Ensure outdoor spaces are secure. Fences, gates, and alarms can help keep individuals safe while enjoying the outdoors.
18. Alarms and Alerts:
Install alarms and alerts for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety systems to ensure they are functioning correctly.
19. Noise Reduction:
Minimize loud noises and distractions to create a calmer environment.
20. Professional Guidance:
Consider seeking advice from professionals who specialize in dementia-friendly home design. They can provide personalized recommendations based on the individual needs.
Remember that the specific modifications needed may vary based on the individual stage of
dementia and personal preferences. It’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals and dementia experts for guidance on making the right changes to create a safe and supportive living environment.