May 29, 2019
A dementia diagnosis can be extremely upsetting for your senior and for you. One thing that can help is to make her home as dementia-friendly as possible before she starts experiencing serious problems with her memory and with cognition.
Remove Any Tripping Hazards and Visual Clutter
Even in the earlier stages of dementia, your senior’s brain is changing. Objects and items that she might not have had a problem with before can create visual clutter for her now. She also might not be as aware of tripping hazards and how to avoid them. The more you do to remove and avoid this problem the easier it is for your senior to adapt.
Tone Down Patterns
Patterns are another form of visual clutter that can confuse your senior. She might not be able to differentiate between patterns and it actually makes it more difficult for your senior to see what’s happening. This is especially a problem with throw rugs or seating. Contrasting colors, on the other hand, can help quite a bit.
Make Clocks and Calendars Visible
It’s difficult for someone with dementia to stay grounded in the correct time and day, so highly visible calendars and clocks can help a lot. You might also want to put a clock next to her favorite chair so that she’s always got access to the correct time.
Make Rooms and Cabinets Visible
As dementia progresses, your senior may start to forget the layout of her home or even what’s stored in certain cabinets or closets. It can help to leave doors open to certain rooms and even to label them with the name of the room. For cabinets, drawers, and closets, you might want to post a sign that includes a few keywords about what’s stored there.
Display Happy Memories
Memories are a big deal for someone who has dementia. You might want to consider finding ways to make pictures and other reminders of happy memories plentiful around your senior. She may have trouble with short-term memory, but these older memories can help her to feel more grounded and comfortable.
You might also want to consider hiring senior care providers early in your aging adult’s diagnosis. They can help you to learn what else helps your elderly family member to feel comfortable and solve problems as they appear. You’ll also be able to learn early on about the importance of taking time away from caregiving so you can recharge.