Dementia is a group of mental illnesses that affect one’s behaviour, social activities and relationships. Some of its types include Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body disease and subcortical vascular dementia.
It is the second cause of death next to heart disease. According to Dementia Australia’s 2018 study, Australians suffering from dementia are 425,416 in number – 191,367 of which are males and 234,049 are females.
The need to build a dementia friendly home or community is important to help people with dementia develop a habit of coping with their condition and improve their lives.
Here are some practical ways to create a place that maintains their quality of life.
Improve your lighting.
Window blinds or curtains that slightly block off natural light can cast shadows on the floor. Adjusting its position can prevent confusion from forming in their minds and boost their health condition. Not only does it help them stay aware of the time, but it also keeps them awake and active. Setting up supportive lighting systems such as automatic light switches and lights with sensors are beneficial as they require lesser movements.
Also, keeping the bedroom dark during rest and regular nap time guarantees less disturbance and sleep deprivation. Installing nightlights in bedrooms, hallways and other areas such as stairs is advisable to ensure their safety when walking.
Check your carpet edges and rugs.
Floor coverings that need immediate repair or replacement are one of your priorities. Worn rugs and loose edges can cause tripping accidents which result in serious injuries or death. Removing long electrical wires and cables from rugs and floor mats is also recommended. Non-trip hazard cords on appliances are risk-free and convenient.
Another aspect to notice is the colour of your flooring. Using multiple colours is not advisable as they might confuse it with something dangerous or a threat. A plain or matte finish is more effective for aged people with dementia. The use of high and low contrast is also a huge consideration. For instance, stairs with contrasting strips on the front edge are safer and more distinctive.
Declutter the area.
Newspaper pilings and small pets are obstructive objects that may cause trips. Items such as magazines, baskets and unused slippers can be placed in hard-to-reach areas or for disposal. Keeping things in order doesn’t only drive away pests and dirt particles but also lessens the amount of time spent looking for stuff.
Likewise, cleaning up stains and spills prevents unwanted slips and falls. One way of clearing and maximising your space is to put up a multi-storage, lockable cabinet. Buying extra cupboards or shelves is needed to organise things easily and make them more accessible.
You can also limit the use of TV and radio to reduce noise within the property. In doing so, it gives them the freedom to concentrate on their activities.
Have a Safe and Comfortable Environment through Builders
Experts know how familiarity is important for someone suffering from this illness. Making the surroundings easily adaptable increases their awareness of their location and identity.
Some essential factors to consider when creating a safe and comfortable environment will include your lighting, flooring, furniture and furnishings, heating equipment controls and other aspects. Not only do they require more attention, but they also help people with dementia to live more independently.
Here’s the list of the few things to take note for their safety:
Put any hazardous products (cleaning solutions and detergents) out of reach and secure them in hard-to-access areas. Dispose unused materials if necessary.
Use transparent containers for storing up food and invest in automatic medication dispensers.
Place emergency contact numbers near the phone and enlarge the typeface to make it readable.
Check water taps and adjust the temperature level.
Put up handrails or grab bars in the bathroom and near stair areas.
Label your switches and controls to make them easily identifiable. Use contrasting colours to effectively meet your objective.
Install a safety switch to have complete control over your electrical appliances and avoid fire accidents.
Put safety covers on power points.
A simplified version of home with less furniture and minimal designs is relevant to people living with dementia. Drafting a checklist is essential. If construction-related jobs are involved, asking a reliable builder or designer will make the process easier and hassle-free.