Creating the right environment for someone who is living with dementia
Our “home” stirs familiar and warm feelings within. However, when dementia arrives, your home is then not necessarily as safe, comfortable and familiar as it once was. If you were to wake up every morning in an unfamiliar place it could be a very frightening and confusing place. Fortunately, there are easy-to-introduce steps to take and ways to best create comfort and security within the home. Environments for those who are living with dementia become very important in their daily routine. Key areas to create a secure and comfortable environment can be achieved by following these easy to follow guidelines. 1) Simple is easy. One central place/area for meals, activities and exercise is much easier to follow than 3 separate rooms/areas in various locations for each event. For someone who is living with dementia, a real sense of achievement can be getting somewhere on their own without any help. 2) Provide visual cues that are large, colourful and familiar. For someone who has dementia, it is easy to get disorientated. Some care communities use large, colourful murals that relate to the framed art work within each corridor to help guide their residents. These visual cues are very helpful and effective and can be used in any home. Post large signs in colourful writing above bathrooms, bedrooms and wardrobes to distinguish what each room is. 3) Create a safe and secure environment to ensure that it is easy to move about within your home. We all need room so we can walk freely within your home. Those who are living with dementia are no different. Being in one room or one place for long periods of time will make most restless, especially someone with dementia. Create a safe zone both indoors and outdoors to help someone living with dementia. Ensure that door/gates are locked, but allow the doors to the garden to remain open or unlocked. Clear unnecessary clutter from corridors to bedrooms and bathrooms and hallways leading to the front door and back garden patio. 4) Be consistent and predictable with your daily routine. Routine and consistency with meals, baths and bedtime will help bring familiarity. From getting up in the morning to getting ready for bed at night, the day should be well planned and scheduled. Any exercise should always be in the same place, meals at the same meal tables and activities such as sing-alongs always happen around the same half circle of chairs.