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How to Use Home Design to Benefit Seniors with Dementia

A well designed home can promote greater independence for seniors living with dementia, provided the modifications keep cognitive impairments in mind. These simple accommodations, brought to you by the Lancaster dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance, can enhance your elderly loved one’s life while ensuring his or her safety and comfort.

Provide Quality Lighting

Seniors with dementia should have a combination of natural and artificial light in their homes. Well-lit hallways and focus points of a room can assist your loved one with finding his or her way through the home. Natural lighting can also help regulate your loved one’s sleep cycles and reduce incidences of sundowning. However, when installing lighting, it is important to avoid creating glares and shadows because seniors with dementia can misinterpret them as other things, such as a puddle on the floor.

Modify for Accessibility

Many seniors with dementia also have limited mobility, which leaves them at greater risk for falls. Make sure staircases in your loved one’s home have handrails, and install grab bars in the bathroom. Since many people with dementia develop a shuffling gait in the later stages of the disease, removing doorsills and rugs can also make it easier and safer for them to move throughout the home.

Use Color and Contrast

Color can be used to emphasize important areas of the home and to camouflage areas your loved one shouldn’t access. For example, painting a bathroom door a bright shade in a home with a neutral color scheme can make it easier for your loved one to find it. Alternatively, knobs on the doors leading outside can be painted the same shade as the door to reduce the risk of wandering.

Add Safety Features

As dementia progresses, symptoms such as confusion or forgetfulness become more common, which can place your loved one’s safety at risk. Install door alarms and electronic locks to prevent wandering, and choose appliances with automatic shutoff features. Adding lockable cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms can also prevent your loved one from accessing dangerous household products.

Though making changes to the home can be a great help for seniors with dementia, there are other factors to take into consideration. If your loved one needs mental stimulation or help around the house, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our expertly trained caregivers can engage your loved one in activities designed to boost brain health, and they can also help with tasks like cooking, cleaning, and bathing. For more information on senior home care Lancaster families can count on, call one of our experienced Care Managers at (717) 540-4663 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.