- Aug 21, 2023
- By H2 Care
Tips for Creating a Dementia Friendly Environment at Home
As the primary caregiver of a loved one with dementia, you’re aware of the physical and emotional challenges they face every day. It’s your job to make sure they’re safe and comfortable in their home environment, and it’s a tall order. You might think that any home environment is safe for a person with dementia—after all, it’s their own home, right? Unfortunately, not only can their familiar surroundings become confusing to someone with dementia, but certain common features of many homes can pose potential safety risks.
A very well home environment can support a person living with dementia to maintain abilities and provide meaningful engagement by providing essential prompts and accessibility. It will encourage a dementia patient to live as full and independent a life as possible. Making many simple modifications to their home, residential aged care facility, hospital, public building or landscaping, as well as architectural design changes, can help improve the quality of life for people with dementia. Making changes to the physical environment can help people with dementia feel more comfortable and confident in their surroundings, which can reduce confusion and anxiety. That’s why understanding how to create a compassionate and secure home environment for those with dementia is so important.
Factors to Consider When Designing a Dementia-Friendly Home Environment
Creating a safe, comfortable environment for a loved one with dementia can be a daunting task. But there are key factors to consider that can help ease the process and make it more effective. Here are the main factors you’ll want to keep in mind when redesigning or otherwise modifying your home environment:
- Simplicity: Look for ways to declutter and simplify the home environment by removing excess items that might cause confusion or distraction. This includes unnecessary furniture, accessories, toys, picture frames, and other items that may be confusing to someone with dementia. Additionally, make sure any furniture is easy and safe to use (e.g., no sharp edges) so as not to cause unnecessary injuries.
- Security: Create a secure environment by making sure doors and windows are properly locked when necessary, installing additional locks if necessary, and setting up security cameras or other monitoring devices. It’s also important to mark all off-limit areas of your home with signs or symbols so a person living with dementia is aware of what they should avoid. Make sure that there is good lighting around the house as well as grab bars in wet areas like bathrooms and improve dining areas and kitchen. Installing smoke detectors can also be beneficial as sometimes those with dementia leave appliances on or forget to turn stove burners off.
- Familiarity & Comfort: Keeping familiar items around can help someone who has dementia feel more at home—this might mean incorporating familiar furniture, artwork, family photographs or other items into the redesigned space. You can also add extra comfort elements such as plush seating or comforting colours/patterns in different areas of the home.
- Proper Temperature & Humidity Regulation: Most people adjust their thermostats according to their own comfort levels, but individuals with dementia cannot always regulate their body temperatures this way. High humidity can also create an uncomfortable and dangerous situation for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, so, if possible, install a dehumidifier to ensure safe conditions.