10 Key Tips for Creating a Dementia-Friendly Environment at Home
Creating a dementia-friendly environment at home can make a world of difference in the quality of life for people living with dementia. By making a few simple adjustments and thoughtfully designing your living space, you can provide a secure home for your loved one that promotes independence.
If you're living with someone with dementia, your top priorities include their safety at home. We've rounded up these tips if you're searching for ways to make your abode more supportive of their condition.
How to Make Your Home Dementia Friendly
You can do minor and major home renovations to change the environment at home. However, this also depends on the severity of your loved one's condition. Those with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage dementia are often self-capable, so you may have to postpone major home upgrades.
1. Enhance visibility and minimize hazards
Ensure you have good lighting throughout your house to minimize shadows and reduce the risk of falls. Replace dim bulbs with brighter ones and consider adding motion sensor lights in key areas like the toilet. Remove or secure loose rugs and furniture to eliminate tripping hazards leading to accidents. On the stairs, you can place contrasting colored strips along the edges of the steps to distinguish them more clearly.
2. Simplify and declutter
Create an organized and clutter-free environment to reduce cognitive overload. It's best to remove unnecessary furniture and decorations that may confuse or distract your loved one with dementia. Clear pathways and keep essential items easily accessible.
For example, you can label drawers and cabinets using large, clear prints or pictures to help your loved one with dementia find items more quickly.
3. Utilize memory aids
Incorporate visual cues and memory aids to support daily routines. Use prominently displayed calendars, whiteboards, or electronic reminders to help your dear one remember important dates, appointments, and tasks.
For example, you could place a whiteboard near the home’s entrance to remind them of their schedule or upcoming events.
4. Create familiar and recognizable spaces
Be consistent by arranging rooms predictably and keep furniture and objects in familiar places. This approach helps minimize confusion and makes navigating the home easy for your loved one.
For example, place personal belongings such as photographs and cherished mementos on the living room or bedroom side tables. They can evoke positive memories and provide comfort.
5. Use clear signs and labels
Label different rooms and areas with large-font signs to help a senior relative with dementia get their way around the home independently. Signage should include pictures or symbols to enhance comprehension.
For example, use a picture of a bed for the bedroom door and an image of a toilet for the bathroom door.
6. Create a calm atmosphere
To reduce agitation and anxiety, tone down background noise and aim to create a peaceful ambiance in your home. Play nature sounds or soft, soothing music to promote relaxation. You can also set up a comfortable seating area near a window with a view of nature to help boost their mood.
7. Ensure safety in the bathroom
Make the bathroom a secure and user-friendly space by installing grab bars, non-slip mats, and raised toilet seats. Additionally, mark hot and cold water faucets — if possible, use contrasting colors to distinguish between surfaces or add labels. For instance, use color-coded tap covers, such as red for hot and blue for cold water, to prevent accidental burns.
8. Promote independence in the kitchen
To make kitchen utensils and appliances accessible, arrange them and put them in arm’s reach. Not only will this make them accessible, but it can also diminish confusion during meal preparation. You can use simple labels or pictures on cupboard doors to indicate their contents. For example, label the cabinet that contains cups and glasses with a clear picture.
9. Establish a soothing sleep environment
Create a relaxed and familiar environment in the bedroom for a restful sleep. Use the same nightlights and bedding color. If you need to wash the pillowcases and sheets, replace them with the same colors.
Use blackout curtains to minimize disruptions and promote quality sleep. You should also consider using clocks with large numbers that indicate whether it's day or night to help establish the correct sleeping patterns.
10. Seek professional guidance
When creating a dementia-friendly home, seeking professional guidance is vital to achieving the best possible outcome. At Senex Memory Advisors, we specialize in dementia care and offer personalized advice and recommendations tailored to the unique needs of your loved one.
Our team of dementia care specialists has extensive knowledge in optimizing home environments for individuals with dementia. We understand the challenges associated with the condition and are here to provide valuable insights and support throughout the process.
By consulting with us, you'll have access to expertise in dementia-friendly design. We can assess your home layout, identify potential hazards, and recommend modifications promoting safety, independence, and well-being.
Creating a Dementia-Friendly Home Is Easy
By following these 10 practical tips to make your home dementia friendly, you can promote independence, safety, and overall well-being. Simple modifications and incorporating thoughtful design choices can have an enormous positive impact on the quality of life of those with dementia. It allows them to maintain a sense of dignity, familiarity, and connection to their surroundings.
If you need help creating a supportive home, contact us today. Discover how we work together to make a difference in your loved one’s life.
Syed has years of experience dealing with people, understanding their needs, and helping them find solutions to their problems.
As a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), Certified Montessori Dementia Care Professional (CMDCP), Syed is committed to working closely with Senior and their family knowing what is it like for individuals facing a challenging time, at times groping in dark trying to figure what is the appropriate next step or care level for their unique situation.
Syed and Senex Memory Advisors are fully committed to working closely with families in creating a personalized, step-by-step process memory care plan at zero cost.