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How to make your home dementia-friendly
For those who are planning on continuing to live in their own home as dementia progresses, symptoms can make home adaptations essential.
From changing spatial awareness and depth perception causing issues with mobility through to more personal considerations, such as continence, seeking professional advice is the best way to begin thinking about future-proofing the home.
Minor adaptations to do around the home
Although you may find that large-scale adaptations are required, firstly there are a few simple things you can do to make your home that little bit better to be in:
- Improve lighting: Wherever there’s an opportunity throughout the home, it’s a great idea to let as much natural light as possible pour into living spaces. This will not only make visibility easier, but it can also help establish natural rhythms of night and day, aiding sleep.
- Clear contrasts: Whether it’s furniture, towels in the bathroom or bedding, go for clear block colours and avoid any complex stripes or patterns. This will make it easier to see.
- Outdoor space: Extend the inside to the outside. If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space, take advantage of it. A lovely place to sit outside, around foliage and nature, can do wonders for wellbeing, especially if getting out and about is of increased difficulty.
- Clear clutter: It’s essential to remove any potential trip hazards or health and safety concerns from around the home. Make sure any trinkets are safely locked and all unused furniture is removed.
- Make it homely: The biggest positive about arranging care in the home is the fact you get to stay at home, around memories and possessions. Keep family pictures in prominent positions,
- Keep it tidy: This is something a live-in carer is able to help with on a day-to-day basis. Keeping the home clean and hygienic is an integral element of ensuring its a safe, happy and comfortable environment.
Making the bathroom dementia-friendly
Clearly, the bathroom is the room of the house that poses the greatest risk of a fall, particularly as Alzheimer’s advances, but there are also other hazards to consider. Luckily, there are several adaptations that can be made make this room
- Prevent scalding: Installing thermostatic mixer taps and showers will provide the perfect temperature and prevent the flow of scalding water if the cold water fails.
- Prevent falls: Adding grab rails, a transfer bench and a hoist can make the most hazardous task of getting in an out of the bath that little bit easier.
- Improve accessibility: An accessible bath and walk-in shower will make it easier to wash, even if mobility is impaired. If budget or room is restricted, you can modify your bath or shower with a chair.
- Prevent flooding: When someone has memory issues, bathrooms can flood easily. Adding a flood warning system or a special saftey plug can reduce the risk.
Getting home adaptations funded
Usually, your Occupational Therapist is the first port of call. They’re trained to help those living with Alzheimer’s, as well as their families, to get home improvement strategies in place. After assessing your needs, they should be able to help indicate the kind of adaptations it would be a good idea to make, as well as pointing you in the direction of any funding.
Making the bedroom dementia-friendly
The bedroom also needs to be adapted with frailty, incontinence and nighttime wakeups all at the front of mind.
- Toileting: Ensuring you have a bedpan to hand, fitting the bed with a waterproof mattress and waterproof sheets.
- Getting up: Hoists and other transfer aids are important, helping to raise and lower people in and out of bed. You’re able to mobile hoists that can be moved for use in a variety of rooms. Profile beds can also help in the process.
- Lighting: Fitting automatic lighting ensures that a nighttime wakeup doesn’t result in a difficult walk in the dark, which could increase the risk of a fall.
Making the kitchen dementia-friendly
Cooking and eating can become increasingly difficult as Alzheimer’s becomes more acute.
- Remaining comfortable: As a lot of the time in the kitchen is spent being stood up, getting a perching stool, chair or somewhere comfortable to sit makes it a little easier.
- Trouble eating: Alzheimer’s disease may progress to the point that support is needed from a carer during meal times. Even with this support, wide-handled cutlery, high-rimmed plates and two-handled cups all make things a little easier. Also, be sure to opt for plastic for additional safety.
- Trouble cooking: As the onset of Alzheimer’s progress, it’s likely cooking will become unsafe. But in the early stages, height-adjustable cupboards, extension grab handles for appliances
- Moving meals: If you’re eating your meal in a dining room or living room, why not get a trolley to make transporting hot food safer.
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