18 Nov 2021

Four Ways To Create A Dementia-Friendly Home

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4 ways to create a dementia-friendly home

Looking to make a comfortable and accessible home for someone living with dementia?
In this article Alison Hughes, Interiors Director at Coast Road Furniture, shares her top tips for creating a dementia-friendly home.

Everyone deserves a home that feels both comfortable and safe. While this is easy enough for most of us to achieve, it can be more difficult for people living with dementia. The syndrome makes day-to-day living more challenging, which means that the people living with it have their own unique needs that must be catered for in order for them to feel safe and comfortable. And one of the best ways to make life easier for someone living with the syndrome is by ensuring that their place of residence is both accessible and homely.

But what are the changes that people with dementia need? To give you some inspiration, here are four of the best ways to make a dementia-friendly home.

Invest in specialist furniture
The majority of people in the later stages of their dementia struggle with their mobility. This is in part due to them having less control over their muscles, as well as having issues with balance which can make them more accident-prone (Ideas in Action). This can be particularly upsetting, as it can make it feel like a lot of their independence has been taken away.

To make everyday tasks easier while giving people with dementia more independence, it's a good idea to have accessible furniture designed for people living with mobility issues. There are a number of items you can invest in, including riser recliner chairs and adjustable beds to make it easier to get up and down. It's also important to make sure the bathroom is fully accessible, with handrails, a raised toilet seat, and a walk-in shower with a fold out seat.

Make the most of the light
It's important to make sure there's plenty of light to make it a safe home for a person living with dementia. Having a home without enough light increases the risk of falls, which people with dementia are already at risk of because of their balance issues. Plus, people living with the syndrome are more likely to experience some form of sight loss, so having a bright room makes it much easier for them to see what they need to (Alzheimer's Society).

Try to make the most of the natural light available in the house or flat by keeping the blinds or curtains open throughout the day. Avoid using heavy blinds and curtains as this will make it difficult for the person with dementia to open and close them, and therefore take away some of their independence. You should also make sure the lights in the room are bright enough and add extra lamps if needed to lighten up any dark corners in the room.

Use labels around the home
Labels and signs around the home are a great way to help people with dementia with day-to-day life. As well as helping them find the items in the first place, it also helps them find where to put them back. Plus, they can act as reminders in themselves. For example, someone with the syndrome may not realise that they're starting to feel hungry until they see signs for food on the fridge.

When creating the signs, it's important to make them as clear as possible so they don't add to any confusion. Use a large and easy to read font, and just use the label to say what the item is, rather than having a lengthy explanation of how to use it. It's also a good idea to put a picture on the label to make it even clearer. And remember to put it in their eyeline so they don't regularly miss it.

Soundproof the rooms
It's vital that people living with dementia are able to feel relaxed and safe in the comfort of their own homes. So, to make their home feel as comfortable as possible, it's important to reduce the impact of any excess outdoor noise. These sounds can cause confusion and be distressing for people with dementia, and they can easily be startled by loud and sudden noises. Having soundproofed rooms is important for anyone living with dementia, but especially for those living in a noisy area.

The good news is that it isn't too difficult to drown out excess noise. Soft furnishings like curtains and throws are great at doing this. Carpets are also good at absorbing excess noise too, and they have the added benefit of being softer than wooden or vinyl flooring, so are much better when it comes to trips and falls. However, try to avoid thick rugs as these can stick out and become a trip hazard.

Creating a dementia-friendly home for a person living with the syndrome is important not just for their safety and security, but for their independence too. If you use the tips above, you should easily be able to create a suitable and comfortable home for a person with dementia.

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