It may not be the first thing you consider when thinking about home improvements but more and more people are now considering dementia-proofing their home.
Around 850,000 people are currently living with Dementia in Britain and the numbers are going up. One in three people born today will go on to develop dementia, and those with Dementia already account for more than 25% of delayed hospital discharges. The delay in discharging comes after being admitted after a fall or flu, but they are then unable to be safely discharged once better because their homes are not safe or suitable for them to return to.
The Sunday Times recently reported that a team of experts are creating a dementia-friendly home in a refurbished Victorian house to help educate housebuilders, carers and relatives on how to better support those living with dementia.
Features of the test house include:
- Clear lines of sight towards specific rooms
- Good natural lighting, to help people stay alert during the day and sleep better at night
- Automatically controlled ventilation
- Noise-reduction features to reduce stress
- Simple switches and heating controls together with safety sensors in high-risk areas
- A homely and familiar design to encourage relaxation
An open layout that allows clear lines of sight, together with good lighting, contrasting walls and floors and simple-to-use taps and switches are accepted as being vitally important.
There are many things that you can do without serious building work, such as taking out trip hazards and sharp edges. Awareness and eyesight will diminish with dementia, so colours will also dim too. Aim for at least 30% difference in shade between walls and floor – if you can see where the floor finishes and the wall starts, you are less likely to bump into it.
Contrast is important in the bathroom too, if a white toilet has a blue seat, you know exactly where it is, also old fashioned crosshead taps can be less confusing than mixer taps.
The house has big windows, letting in lots of natural daylight, light is crucial to see properly, chairs could look like a crouching intruder to somebody with dementia. Blinds are shut at night to block out street light and for a feeling of security.
Noise can also be a big issue – a person with dementia can zone in on a sound, which then becomes amplified and turns into an obsession. If dementia is spotted early, you can make adaptations and live at home for longer.
We are a Dementia friendly company who continually strive to support people living with the condition. We specialise in helping vulnerable clients and have a wide knowledge and experience in helping people plan for later life.
Should you want to discuss planning for the future or need help and advice on supporting a vulnerable relative you can contact us on 01603 675645 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courtesy of Rogers & Norton– 09/04/2019