Your dementia-friendly home safety checklist

Your dementia-friendly home safety checklist

What if a simple change to your home could make a huge impact for a loved one who is living with dementia? Caregivers need to look no further than some simple modifications to make their homes more dementia-friendly.

Home safety modifications for dementia

Here are 5 easy modifications to make your home more dementia-friendly:

  1. Lighting matters

Adequate lighting is very important for someone who is living with dementia. Here are some quick tips to maximize lighting:

  • Increase wattage, and place additional lamps in areas where shadows are cast (hallways, dark corners, etc.) to reduce disorientation and promote independence.
  • Open curtains up in the daytime to maximize lighting.
  • Plug-in motion sensors can be a great way to help quickly and easily illuminate important pathways during the night.
  • Change the light switch colour to contrast with the wall to make them easily recognizable.
  1. What time is it?

Add a large scale clock to the main living areas that shows both the time and the date. The bold display may help reduce disorientation and provide comfort in the case that confusion arises.

  1. Dementia-friendly decorating

A bit of planning can mean a more peaceful environment for someone who is living with dementia. Remove poisonous plants, plastic foods, and disorienting mirrors which may cause confusion. If you move furniture, make sure to use corner-protectors to avoid painful collisions, or worse, falls.

If you are replacing furniture, make sure it’s sturdy, supportive and neutral in colour. Avoid glass tables and colours that may blend into the floor. Strong, visual cues are helpful in the case of disorientation.

  1. A touch of the familiar

What is your loved ones favourite painting, poster, or family portrait? Large images in main living spaces can be a great relief to someone who is living with dementia. Likewise, there may be a certain flower or indoor plant that is meaningful to your loved one. These personal touches may evoke memories, and stimulation.

  1. Consider a renovation

Safety modifications at home range from inexpensive to pricey. Here are a few renovations that may help you can promote a more peaceful environment for someone who is living with dementia:

  • Install glare-free windows to reduce disorientation.
  • Light coloured flooring with no patterns provides the highest contrast between floor and furniture.
  • Install an elder-friendly bathtub and plenty of railing in bathrooms.
  • Install non-slip flooring in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways.

There are grants and special financing options available that may help you recover some or all of the costs of home modifications. The Ontario government’s Assistive Device’s Program, for example, may help to cover some of the costs. You may also be able to access funding through your municipality.

Living safely at home and in your community is one of the cornerstones of living well with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. For more information about safety, wandering, and locating technologies, visit findingyourway.com.

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