Because dementia is a progressive illness, family caregivers need to start thinking as soon as possible about creating a safe and comfortable environment for seniors with dementia. Designing the living space as carefully as possible enhances the well-being of seniors who are battling dementia, which reduces stress and offers them familiarity. Home care providers can be a huge help with these changes.
Simplify and Declutter
The more complex a senior’s living environment is, the more troubling that can be as dementia progresses. Decluttering living spaces helps to reduce confusion and it also reduces the risk of falls and other accidents. Reducing furniture, decorations, and anything else that might be visually overwhelming is a good plan. Ultimately the goal is to create a clean and organized space, with essential items readily accessible.
Highlight Cherished Items
It’s a common misconception that seniors with dementia forget everything, but that isn’t true. There are lots of things they forget, but there are also lots of things they remember. Preserving and highlighting some cherished items can be incredibly comforting for aging adults as they continue to live with dementia. This offers them a connection to their identity and their personal history.
Improve Lighting and Visibility
Good lighting is important for all seniors, but it’s especially important for seniors with dementia. Poor lighting can make it difficult for their brains to understand what’s around them. Shadows and glare cause confusion and make it more likely seniors will experience an accident or a fall. Adding new light fixtures and switching to LED bulbs can make a huge difference.
Implement Safety Measures
Planning for safety is a lot easier than just dealing with the resulting injuries. Adding handrails, removing anything that creates a tripping hazard, and moving furniture to clear spaces are good places to start. Elder care providers can help family caregivers spot what else might be contributing to a safety concern so that changes can be made.
Make the Environment Calm and Sensory Friendly
Seniors with dementia do a lot better in a calm environment that is full of happy sensory elements. Soft textures, soothing music, and other calming influences are good to include. It helps to consider what seniors enjoyed before they were diagnosed with dementia. Those preferences may change as dementia progresses, but they can be a good start.
Clear the Pathways
Seniors need to have clear pathways in their homes, particularly if they have other fall risk factors to consider. Arranging furniture so that there are wide walkways helps, especially when seniors are using assistive devices like walkers or canes. The clearer the pathways are throughout the house, the easier it is for seniors to remain independent, even as dementia continues to progress.
Ensuring that seniors with dementia are as safe as possible means looking carefully at their environment and making changes whenever possible. Home care providers have a lot of experience keeping seniors with dementia safe. They can also help family caregivers to spot ways to not only keep seniors healthy and happy, but safe while they age in place.