It’s vital to create the right living environment for people with dementia. Successful dementia-friendly settings prevent confusion and reduce tension among residents, significantly improving health and general well-being. Not only do they make it easier for staff to provide care, they allow residents to live far more independently.
Contrary to popular belief, the key to creating the right environment isn’t simply having a good design. Yes, it can set you on the right path to achieving the right look. However, the most successful dementia-friendly settings are also underpinned by an effective care model.
Follow our advice to create the right environment for patients in your home
In our experience, successful dementia settings are: (1) homely, (2) appropriate for their function and (3) easy for residents to recognise easily.
It’s important to have a focal point for each room – a fireplace, for example – and a bright colour scheme.
Furniture is essential to creating the right environment for your residents. When selecting your furniture, you may want to consider items that have been specifically designed to help people with dementia feel more relaxed and at home.
For instance, bedroom cabinet furniture with scoop handles and without a door enables residents to easily see what’s inside without having to rummage through their items. Also, when there’s no door it means residents don’t see their reflection and mistakenly think there’s a person in the wardrobe, which can make them feel unsettled and scared.
Dementia residents tend to spend a lot of time sitting down, so it’s important your seating is comfortable and caters for people’s personal preferences. Installing seats that are in a range of different heights and depths is great way to ensure residents find the right seat for them.
As people with dementia tend to be older, age-related impairments, such as sight, hearing and memory loss, also need to be considered. Factoring these elements into your environment will help residents feel more at ease and allow them to live more independently.
For example, residents with a hearing impairment can find certain sounds frustrating and overly loud, so creating a quieter environment can help make them feel more settled.
Accessories that relate to residents’ memories, such as name plates, photographs and memory boxes, are also an excellent way to help make residents with memory loss feel more at ease.
Use them to help residents find their own space and familiarise themselves with their environment.
Take a look at this reminiscence lounge we recently helped create for Friends of the Elderly (FOTE), it’s a great example of what a dementia-friendly environment looks like.
The main points to take into account are:
If you’d like to see examples of specialist dementia furniture, or to explore dementia-friendly environments, visit our Care Showroom. It has the UK’s largest collection of specialist care equipment and furniture set up in clinical and care home settings.