There are currently 413,106 people diagnosed with some form of dementia in Australia, and this number is rising by around 240 people every day. It is estimated that if there are no major medical breakthroughs, the number of people living with dementia in Australia will reach 1 million by 2056. If an elderly relative has been diagnosed with dementia and is receiving home care, you may be thinking about how you can modify their home to make it more dementia friendly. Below is a guide to 3 changes you should consider making.
Dementia can affect a person's balance and co-ordination. These changes can increase the risk of trips and falls within the home. To help to combat this risk, you should consider having handrails installed at key points in the home. For example, you may wish to install a rail in the bathroom, so your elderly relative has something to grab hold of when getting in or out of the bath or shower or when using the toilet. Handrails should also be installed near any steps or stairs.
Replace patterned materials
Dementia doesn't just affect a person's ability to remember. It can also impact their vision and their ability to view objects in their proper perspective. It has been found that patterned materials can exacerbate these problems by triggering further vision problems. If the home contains any heavily patterned carpets, upholstery, or wallpaper, you should have the room renovated and these areas covered using a dull material or colour. You may also wish to use paint to create contrasting sections of colour around door ways and windows, as this will help your elderly relative to navigate around their home.
Install new lighting
Installing new lighting systems or renovating old lights is another good idea. Having adequate lighting will allow a person with dementia to find their way around their home. It will also increase the chance that they will spot object which has been misplaced. You should consider replacing any old halogen light bulbs with modern LED lights. You may also wish to install a timer system to the lights, so they switch themselves off after a certain late hour, as this will ensure they do not overheat if your relative forgets to turn them off.
If you would like further advice about transforming a home to improve the in-home care of a relative living with dementia, you should contact a repair and restoration company and talk to someone who focuses in home dementia respite for more suggestions.