“Using equipment and making adaptations to the home environment can help someone to continue to do things for themselves for longer. “
The set-up of an environment can make a big difference to how well a person living with dementia manages in their home, and this can either work for them – enabling them – or against them – disabling them.
Those with dementia can be affected by difficulties with poor memory, learning new things, safety awareness, knowing if it’s day-time or night-time and visuo perceptual problems (misinterpreting what they see). All of these issues can in-turn create additional stress and anxiety for the person and their families.
There are many ways the environment can be enhanced to help people with dementia to live comfortably and independently in their own home. However, it should not be assumed that everyone with dementia experiences things in same way.
Examples of problems people with dementia can face in the home and possible solutions include:
- Getting up in the middle of the night due to being disorientated to time – use of a day/night clock can help someone to recognise it is night-time, and not time to get up in the morning.
- Misinterpreting dark colours on the floor as big holes causing reluctance to step into the room/area – avoid very dark coloured flooring in the home.
- Forgetting to turn the light on causing falls over unseen items on the floor – installation of sensor lighting that comes on automatically when movement is detected.
- Replacing familiar items with unfamiliar items can cause confusion (eg. different style taps/shower controls) – choose items that are familiar.
It is beneficial to spend time considering future needs as close to diagnosis as possible. This gives the person with dementia the best opportunity to become familiar with changes to their environment before the nature of the condition progresses, and learning new things becomes challenging for them.
What we can offer
Home Independence Centre
At our Home Independence Centre in Bristol, we have a wide range of general equipment on display that can support older people or those with disabilities to live independently in their own homes.
We also have various dementia-friendly products on display that include:
- Day/night clocks
- Reminder devices
- Fall alarms and detectors
- Sensor lighting
- Easy to use mobile phones
- GPS locators
- Detectors for carbon monoxide, smoke, flooding, gas and heat
- Robotic pets
- Fiddles muffs for restless hands
Please note that the Home Independence Centre provides people with the opportunity to ‘try’ products out before they buy them – we have a small range of products for sale, but we may signpost you to other suppliers for you to purchase products independently.
The Alzheimer’s Society has an online shop with daily living aids available for purchase.
We can design and install accessible bathrooms that are dementia-friendly. This includes level access showers with no step to get into the shower, shower seats and grab rails to lower the risk of falls, low surface temperature radiators to reduce the risk of scalding, contrasting colours so that different items stand out and easy-to-use shower controls.
See how we helped Bridget and Robert build an accessible bathroom.
We can make bespoke adaptations to the home, tailored to personal needs. If you’re thinking of a garage conversion, home extension, a downstairs toilet, or anything else to make your home more accessible to you, we can give you more information on this.
If you feel that you would benefit from more specific advice, our in-house occupational therapist is able to give free advice over the phone. Alternatively, if you would prefer more in-depth advice, our Occupational Therapist can visit you or your family member at home to complete a personalised assessment and provide written recommendations specific to your home environment.
If required, we can help you to explore funding options.
Did you know?
- Our staff member Julie Derrick is a Dementia Friends Champion. In the last year, she has been delivering dementia awareness sessions to our staff so that they have a better understanding of dementia and how they can help our customers with dementia.
- We have been recognised by the Dementia Action Alliance as an organisation that is working to become Dementia Friendly.