Your tips: making a home dementia-friendly

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Talking Point' started by HarrietD, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. HarrietD

    HarrietD Administrator
    Staff Member

    Apr 29, 2014
    Our magazine wants to include more real life experiences, and this time we're asking for your tips on how to make a home dementia-friendly.

    Have you got any ideas about how to adapt where you live so that it stays a safe and familiar place for someone with dementia? Making sure your home is dementia-friendly can make daily activities easier, and keep someone in touch with the things they enjoy doing.

    Please add your comments below, and they may be featured in the next issue of the magazine.

    Thanks everyone :)
  2. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    I have tried to keep everything free of clutter and I deliberately put a photo of OH's mum opposite her chair for reassurance when she gets that wanting to go home feeling. It has generally worked, though there was a time when she started wondering if her mum was still alive. We are lucky with the layout of our flat in that the toilet is directly opposite the lounge which reduces the chance of getting lost or wandering. It's also en-suite with another door from the bedroom to keep everything simple.
  3. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    A few things I do are:-

    Close curtains and turn lights on as soon as daylight starts to fade as my wife can confuse shadows/reflections with people in the apartment.
    Leave a hall light on overnight so that there is a crack of light at the bedroom door to make it easier to find and then light to find the bathroom once in the hall.
    Put stickers on kitchen appliances and remote controls to ease there use.
    Use a noticeboard in the kitchen to list activities/appointments.

    My wife(Alzheimer's) functions pretty well with these things.
  4. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Not an adaption, more a tip.To help mum accept a commode in her bedroom, when not in use there is a Victorian screen around it. Glass and pottery storage jars have been replaced with plastic or metal - pull top rather than screw, labels of contents all around so however they are put back, can still see.

    Will post again if I can see anymore around my home. Its been so long since I made changes I think I have forgotten when and what I did!
  5. tony truro

    tony truro Registered User

    Apr 23, 2018
    Yes mate I do the same night lights etc .I must get a notice board for Teresa .cheers Tony
  6. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Don't regularly change things around too much so as to keep familiarity.
    Keep clutter to a minimum. Make sure pathways are wide enough and free of obstructions.
    Colour contrasts are good. White on white might not be seen. Red is a good choice for plates and toilet seats.
    Keep rooms well-lit in the evening and close curtains. Night lights will help too.
    Reminder tools and clocks only work up to a certain stage - don't get disheartened if they are ignored, and only invest in expensive gadgets if you are certain they will really help.
    Some people with dementia don't like mirrors as they don't recognise the person looking back at them. Remove or cover them if that is the case.
    Get an OT to check out the place. They can make recommendations and often provide you for free with things like grabrails, shower seats or boards, bed levers, wipable mattresses, booster cushions, armchairs or small tray tables.
  7. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    South of the Border
    Just bought a 'Weekly Memo Board' which hangs on the kitchen wall just above where my OH keeps his wallet, etc ready when for going out - he cannot miss seeing it.

    This board has the days of the week, and under each day a little wooden clothes peg. I can then peg a note on the relevant day saying what he has to remember that day. Works really well - when the pegs are empty he knows he can do as he likes, when there is a piece of paper it is so obvious - not like just writing on a board - he sees it and can also take the note down and put it in his wallet if it is an appt he has to remember.

    I bought this in a shop - nothing to do with dementia - but it works really well.
  8. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    To keep our home dementia friendly for myself & family , from the day of my diagnoses of dementia I took positive action and decided to keep my brain active by making the healthy part of the brain compensate for the damaged part, For instance I use the COMPUTER , IPAD , IPHONE , every day including holiday’s I have a white marker board in the Office to write notes , I also keep reminders & note on Ipad , & Iphone , I continue working with spreadsheets & date base albeit sometimes its meaningless or not for a specific reason other that keeping my brain working, I never answer the home telephone I let go to answerphone and will pick up if I’m happy to accept the call, because I have been having mmse test for 19 years on the wall behind my Computer I have load, words starting with F or P and names of animals, the 100 -7’s table , I continue to book all holidays flight hotels car hire insurance its all about self awareness learn how to cope remember a great number of people will have a diagnoses of dementia because PET, & SPECT, brain scans has shown damaged areas of the brain and can live a happy normal life, unfortunately everyone Brain Damage suddenly recorded as DEMENTIA
  9. Naman

    Naman Registered User

    Feb 21, 2015
    Every post I read confirms to me that Alzheimer dementia affects people in different ways. Leaving notes proved a waste of time as my husband never read them neither did he remember to look at our notice board. I never leave him now. A few minutes ago he offered to switch our electric kettle on for me to make a cup of tea, a dreadful smell of burning, he had put our cordless kettle on the ceramic hob, dreadful mess, kettle and hob. Not his fault but very dangerous. I am very low today, feeling my 86 years.
  10. murdoch

    murdoch Registered User

    Dec 14, 2015
    Hi Naman. When my mum was at home with us she often wanted to make toast or cook things. I soon realised that even the easiest of kitchen tasks were dangerous. The best thing we found was to try and let mum do safe things like washing up or folding washing. Of course repeatedly saying no to offers of cups of tea etc will cause some at atagonism, you may have to say things like yes let's do it together, that way you can enjoy each others company and stay safe. It's good to also see if there are any local groups you can attend together, maybe there is an admiral nurse you can talk to. Life can get very lonely if you try to cope by yourself. Take care and make the most of the happy times xx

    NORTHSIDE Registered User

    Jan 28, 2017
    Hi Naman, I feel I can't leave my wife alone now. Both from the point of view I don't know what mess I would find when I got back (she would forget where the toilet is and signs don't help), but also the anxiety it would cause her to be left alone. I haven't found any simple task that she will get any satisfaction doing. She occaisionally asks if I would like a cup of tea, I always say yes but as soon as she turns her back the thought has gone. Not that she would be capable of making a cup of tea.

    The only thing I've done in the house which gives her any pleasure and helps in a practical way is to put up a pinboard with photos of family and friends. Mentioning someone by name means nothing to her, but she still recognises some faces and generally knows who I am talking about when I point to a photo. also I sometimes find her just looking at the photos and smiling so some good memories must still be there.
  12. Naman

    Naman Registered User

    Feb 21, 2015
  13. Naman

    Naman Registered User

    Feb 21, 2015
    Thank you for your kindness in replying. I really am more upbeat than I perhaps sounded. I don't feel too well today and was feeling a bit sorry for myself. It is not all woe, we have lots of laughs at some of the things my husband does e.g. popping his dentures, a quick as a flash, into a glass of water that I hand him to take his tablets. My main worry is that I may not keep well enough to care for him as long as he ends me.
  14. Naman

    Naman Registered User

    Feb 21, 2015
  15. Naman

    Naman Registered User

    Feb 21, 2015
    Yes, I cannot leave my husband either as he would go out on his own and get lost. I have to ensure our doors are padlocked at night to ensure he does not go out as he did on one occasion on a bitterly cold night. Some days my husband, Tony, helps me with the washing up and changing the bed but he has never been keen on housework. The better weather helps as he has always loved gardening and he potters round the garden with me and waters the plants with guidance. All in all we cope quite well with a very distressing situation. Thank you very much for your reply.
  16. mickeyplum

    mickeyplum Registered User

    Feb 22, 2018
  17. tony truro

    tony truro Registered User

    Apr 23, 2018
    Thinking of you and hope you have a good night ..tony
  18. Sally-Bone

    Sally-Bone New member

    May 26, 2018
    I have found using a weekly planner really helps my dad with appointments and taking his tablets, he is in the early stages at present but reading all the other replies really helps, thank you.
  19. HarrietD

    HarrietD Administrator
    Staff Member

    Apr 29, 2014
    Thanks so much everyone for your help with this - I really appreciate it.

    An update: the editor of the magazine pulled together some of your answers, and you can find them on p36 of the magazine here :)

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