Home > Caregivers, Independent living, Safety > Tips For Living at Home With Dementia

Tips For Living at Home With Dementia

Due to changes within the brain, persons with dementia will usually perceive their environment differently than they did before.  This will create problems with regards to safety and quality of life, and may significantly impair the person’s ability to remain within their own home.  Here are a few things that caregivers should take into consideration:

Because of short-term memory problems, the person with dementia may not remember what is behind a door or inside a drawer.  One solution to this is to either remove a door entirely, or put a helpful picture on the door.  For example, put a photo of a toilet on the bathroom door, or a photo of socks on the appropriate drawer.  This could help prevent toileting accidents that occur when a person cannot find the bathroom, or emotional outbursts due to frustration when she can’t find her socks.

Use flooring that minimizes glare from overhead lights and is not visually confusing for the person.  Busy patterns, or throw rugs that might cause the person to slip and fall should be eliminated.  Mark the edges of steps and stairs with contrastive tape, so as to be more easily seen.  Ensure good lighting throughout the house.  Clear the pathway to the bathroom and bedroom from unnecessary clutter that might prove a hindrance to safety or be overly distracting.

Consider installing lighting with a motion detector, if the person is prone to getting up at night.

Remove mirrors if they are confusing or upsetting.  Some persons with dementia may no longer be able to realize that they are looking at their own image, and may think other people are looking in at them.  The same thing can apply to paintings/photos or the television.

Provide objects and photos that can stimulate reminiscing, and give the comfort of familiarity.  Be sure to spend plenty of time discussing these things with the person, for some good quality sharing time.

Limit the amount of clothing available for the person to choose from, to avoid frustration.  Be sure to remove out-of-season clothes, and use color contrast to allow the person to easily locate buttons and zippers.  Consider using larger buttons, or zipper pulls that are easily manipulated.

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