Virtually every aspect of a home can affect [a person with dementia’s] quality of life,” says Charles Fuschillo Jr., president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “There are a variety of adaptations family care partners can use to make their loved one’s home more dementia-friendly.”
These can be as uncomplicated as repainting walls or labeling dresser drawers. And they can all make life easier not only for older adults with a form of dementia, but also or family caregivers who care for them:
1. Paint the walls blue. Blue can be a calming color, particularly in a bedroom, bathroom, or some other room someone might relax in. Red, orange, and purple, in contrast, are stimulating and agitating, so avoid them.
2. Contrasting furnishings Color contrast helps vision, depth perception, and spatial orientation. When dishes contrast with the tablecloth color, for example, it’s easier for people with dementia to see the food on the plate.
3. Visual clues can make life easier. Putting labels on drawers with a small picture and the name of the contents eliminates guessing what’s inside. Family photos, pictures of places your parent or other older relative enjoys, and even old magazines can be soothing and help with memory recall.
4. Lighting can do more than improve vision. Blue light rays stimulate the brain, increase alertness, and raise energy levels. Lighting that mimics natural patterns – i.e., high blue light during the day and low blue light at night – improves sleep and reduces agitation. Glaring lights, on the other hand, may make things harder to see, while flickering lights can increase agitation.
5. Technology can help a lot, particularly if you're not living there yourself. App-controlled thermostats, for example, let you program, change, and maintain the temperature remotely. You can program smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with friendly human voices and monitor them with an app. And with interactive virtual assistant technology you can schedule audio reminders, like “It’s lunchtime now” or “Time to take your medicine”
As these tips show, the best kind of senior care involves not only the seniors themselves, but also their family caregivers. That’s why, at Senior Insights, we focus on both. With our thorough three-part needs assessment, we learn not only about the potential clients’ needs, but also those of their family caregivers. Then, and only then, do we custom-design a holistic senior care management program that best serves the needs of both.
If you’re a family caregiver, please contact us to learn more about senior care that takes care of your needs as well