Alzheimer’s experts offer advice for ‘dementia-friendly’ homes

By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter

(Health Day)

SUNDAY, Nov. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Although most homes aren’t designed to be dementia-friendly, they can easily be adapted, according to a national Alzheimer’s disease group.

“Virtually every aspect of a home can affect a person’s quality of life,” said Charles Fuschillo Jr.President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA).

“From buying high-tech appliances to labeling dresser drawers and putting up old family photos, there are a variety of adaptations family care partners can use to make their loved one’s home more dementia-friendly,” he told a foundation. Press release.

The AFA offers tips for creating a calming space for a loved one with a dementia-related illness.

Color can help set the mood, so blue can be a calming choice in a bedroom, bathroom, or somewhere someone might relax. Red, orange, and purple are energetic and uplifting, and may not be ideal choices for helping someone stay calm.

Keep color contrast in mind to help with vision, depth perception and spatial orientation, suggests the AFA. For example, crockery that contrasts with the color of the tablecloth may make it easier for a person with dementia to see the food on the plate.

According to the foundation, visual cues can make life easier for someone with dementia. This can include putting labels on dresser drawers with a small picture and name of contents, such as shirts or socks.

Decor can also be soothing and help recall mood and memory. Family photos, photos of places someone loves, and vintage magazines that help reminisce about a bygone era can all come in handy.

Good lighting can help your loved one with dementia see better, but it can also affect their body and behavior. For example, blue light rays stimulate the brain, increasing alertness and boosting energy levels.

Lighting that mimics natural patterns of strong blue light during the day and weak blue light at night can improve sleep and reduce restlessness. Lights that produce glare can make it harder for someone to see, and flickering lights can increase restlessness.

Technology can meet the needs of care partners who do not live with the person with dementia. These can include app-controlled thermostats to schedule, change, and maintain temperature remotely.

Smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can be programmed with friendly human voices and monitored with an app.

Interactive virtual assistant technology can be used to schedule reminders and events that will audibly play for a loved one. This can include phrases at the right time of day, such as “it’s lunch time now” or “it’s time for your meds.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on dementia.

SOURCE: Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, press release, November 10, 2022

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