When a loved one develops dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it can be challenging and stressful to offer them a sense of independence while ensuring they’re safe and comfortable.
Knowing the importance of independence and safety for those with a dementia-related illness, like Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America created a dementia-friendly apartment model.
Speaking with TODAY, Jennifer Reeder, a staff member at the AFA, shared some of the takeaways of making an apartment dementia-friendly. Check them out below:
It’s best to use soothing, cool colors because people with Alzheimer’s and dementia may feel overwhelmed living around bright, vibrant colors.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that painting everything white is a good idea. Because Alzheimer’s can affect vision, having contrasting colors can be important. For example, if the bathroom is painted white, having a cool-colored toilet seat or sink could help the person navigate the space without feeling too overwhelmed or stimulated.
Lighting can impact visibility and mood, so making sure it’s well adjusted is key to creating a comfortable and safe space. Some things to keep in mind when it comes to lighting is opting for glare-free choices since glares can be disorienting for people with Alzheimer’s.
Circadian lighting can help also help and it’s found to be soothing and relaxing.
It probably goes without saying, but simple is better. The space doesn’t have to be completely bare, but making sure it’s clutter-free is important.
Clutter could result in tripping hazards, disorientation, and a worsened mood. Instead, opt for soothing, minimalistic decor, such as paintings of peaceful nature scenes. You could also include some vintage decor or items from childhood, like a few magazines or books, that could be comforting.
Make sure any furniture has rounded edges (no sharp corners) to try and prevent injury.
Technology can really make a massive impact if used properly. It can allow someone living with Alzheimer’s to have a level of independence that wasn’t granted for other generations.
Some suggestions include installing a smart refrigerator that allows caregivers or family to see inside the fridge remotely. Sometimes people with Dementia forget to eat so being able to see their fridge remotely is incredible.
Other safety features that could be included are automatic fire extinguishers and smart burners that won’t get too hot. You could also have a camera system in place to be able to check-in during the day from a cellphone.
You can learn more and take a virtual tour of the apartment created by the AFA by clicking here.Whizzco