Anyone who lives with someone who has dementia or cares for someone who has dementia might ask how can we make things easier around the house with a dementia friendly home? There is no clear-cut answer to this or any guarantees that this is actually possible, however there are things that you can do to try and make your home friendlier for someone who has dementia. By making these small changes, you may notice that there is less confusion or maybe less questions- this of course depends on the severity of their dementia.
After doing a lot of research and reading other blog posts, I think I have narrowed it down to the changes for a dementia friendly home that have the best feedback (and also do not require you to turn your house upside down). I have gone into more detail on the benefits of some of these changes on previous blog posts so give those a read too if you are curious.
Dementia Friendly Home Tips
- Good lighting (see previous blog post on normalising sleep patterns).
- Labelling cupboards
- Do not change where you have always kept items because you think it will make things easier
- For example, if you have always kept the keys in a bowl in the living room, do not change its location (such as closer to the door) because you think it will be easier for them. If it has always been in one location, changing its location can do more harm than good.
- This can also apply to those who do not have a safe place for important items. It might be helpful to create this safe place if your family member is still very high functioning and in the very early stages as it can be very beneficial later on.
- Try to introduce a routine (see previous blog post on normalising sleep patterns).
- Contrasting colours throughout the house makes it much easier to visually see things. This is most important in the bathroom, for example toilet paper and towels contrasting with the wall colour and in the kitchen, for example plates and cutlery contrasting with table colour.
- Make everything bigger
- Buy a larger clock, larger calendar and keep it in a communal area (or an area they spend most of their time). It might also be helpful to have one by the door so that when they leave the house they are able to see the time and date. This is part of the much bigger picture and trying to keep them active and engaged (see previous blog post on exciting activities).
- Get garden furniture or make more use of the garden. Taking opportunities to get outside is good for everyone’s well-being.
The internet is a great tool and there are a lot of ways you can make a more dementia friendly home. Above, I have listed the first few steps you should take before the bigger changes are needed to be made (such as safety changes). I realise that some of these things may not work for everyone, but like I have said in many blog posts, everything is worth a try especially if it will not cost you an arm and a leg!