De-Cluttering May Make It Harder For People With Dementia To Do Daily Tasks, Study Says

For the average person, cleaning up clutter and organizing your living space may help you feel better and make it easier to get daily tasks done, but it may make it more difficult for people with dementia.

This new information comes from a study published in the journal Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders that was conducted in the United Kingdom, which included 65 people with mild, moderate or severe dementia. These people were asked to carry out simple daily tasks in two different locations – their clutter-filled homes and a clutter-free research facility that replicated a home setting.

Photo: Unsplash/Mariia Chalaya

In prior years, it was thought that absence of clutter would benefit people with dementia and help them with their daily living activities, but it turns out that this is not the case.

“We were surprised to find that, overall, people with moderate dementia, in particular, performed daily tasks better at home — even though their homes were significantly more cluttered than our research bungalow,” Julieta Camino, a PhD student in the UEA School of Health Sciences, told US News.

Photo: Unsplash/Jason Leung

“And it didn’t seem to make any difference how cluttered the participant’s home was,” Camino added. “The only factor that contributed to how well they could carry out tasks at home was their level of cognition — with those with severe dementia encountering the same difficulties to perform the tasks at home and in the research bungalow.”

Photo: Unsplash/CDC

One thing worth noting when dissecting the results of this study is that most people who have dementia live in their own home and prefer it that way.

“That makes it important to know how people with dementia can be best supported at home,” Eneida Mioshi, a professor in the School of Health Sciences at University of East Anglia, told US News. “One possible route would be by adapting the physical environment to best suit their needs.”

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