Dementia-Proofing: Safe Home Modifications for Your Loved One
As dementia progresses, individuals with the condition can experience difficulties in navigating their own homes. But fear not, dear reader! With a few clever home modifications, you can create a safe environment for your loved one. Let’s discuss some practical changes you can make to ensure safety, while also having a little fun.
People with dementia may struggle to identify rooms or find their way back to familiar spaces. To combat this, paint doors in bright colors that correspond to their function. For instance, paint the bathroom door blue, the bedroom door green, and so on. If changing the aesthetic is a bit much, consider using colored posterboard instead. This will not only help your loved one identify rooms more easily but also add a vibrant touch to your home. Warning: you may end up with a house that resembles Willy Wonka’s factory, but that’s half the fun!
Simplify the Space:
Clutter can be both visually and mentally overwhelming. By simplifying the living environment, you can reduce the risk of confusion and falls. However, be careful not to misplace your own sense of humor during this decluttering process. Keep that funny family photo on display because laughter is a universal language that dementia can’t take away.
Labeling items around the house with words or pictures can help your loved one find what they need more easily. Go ahead and get creative with those labels – they can be funny, too! For example, label the cookie jar “Grandma’s Secret Stash” or the toilet paper “Conqueror of the Porcelain Throne.” Making light of daily tasks can bring a smile to both you and your loved one.
Safe and Sound:
Install safety devices, such as grab bars, non-slip mats, and stair railings, to prevent falls and accidents. As you install these features, don’t forget to crack a joke or two. After all, who says grab bars can’t double as dance poles for impromptu kitchen discos?
Lights, Camera, Action:
A well-lit home can help reduce disorientation and improve visibility. Make sure there’s adequate lighting in every room, hallway, and stairway. Install nightlights in case your loved one needs to get up during the night. You can even opt for fun, themed nightlights, like superhero or animal-shaped ones, to add a touch of humor to the darkness.
Keep It Familiar:
Preserve a sense of familiarity by maintaining a consistent layout and displaying treasured items that evoke happy memories. Don’t hesitate to reminisce about the hilarious stories behind each item – like the time Grandpa accidentally wore two different shoes, or when your toddler decided to give the dog a haircut for example.
Creating a safe and dementia-friendly environment at home is essential, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way. A little humor can lighten the mood and help both you and your loved one find joy in the present moment.