Consider This When Designing Homes for People with Dementia

One of the most important things to do when someone is diagnosed with dementia is to adapt their environment to their new needs. We may think that a better choice would be to transfer them to a special facility where they could be taken care for, but what we sometimes forget is that they would feel more comfortable in their own home. The solution is, then, to make the appropriate arrangements in their house


Start with the minimum

When a person is diagnosed with dementia, it is better not the remodel their home altogether, but instead, make the right arrangements to keep them safe and secure. Their home has to remain essentially the same, but include few changes that go unnoticed and do a lot.


Design with endurance and to last long

People with dementia can become emotionally unstable and sometimes react in unexpected ways that could harm them and damage objects around them. It is important that these objects are soft enough not to hurt anyone but also durable enough to be hard to break. Protective surfaces and impact resistant walls are features that could be included in any home.


Kitchens have to be safe and fun

The kitchen is one of the most important spaces of a house. The phrase “the kitchen is the heart of every home” is commonly heard in any country, and it speaks the truth. The kitchen is a space that allows people to share special moments while cooking, which can be a therapeutic activity. It can be a place for therapy and for creating homelike atmospheres that bring positive impacts on a patient’s brain.

A well-adapted kitchen for people with dementia has to be open to moving around comfortably. It has to have many places to sit comfortably, tools that should not be touched must be placed out of reach, and home appliances have to be easy to use.


Bathrooms have to provide independence

Bathrooms have to provide support and let them feel more independent. Since these are very private places, it might be possible that they don’t feel comfortable with someone assisting, so it would be better to accommodate the bathroom in a way that they could clean up on their own.

Showers cubicles have to be easy to get in and always have grab rails. They could also include additional lighting. The bathroom can feature a mirror, but it is important to consider a way of covering it or hiding to avoid a person with dementia who no longer recognizes their reflection to be confused and distressed.


Include assistive technology

Assistive technology is always helpful in any home. Wheelchairs and scooters can help taking a person from one place to another without much effort. Sensors and alarms can help to keep track of water, gas, lighting, and temperature of the house. Or even smaller things such as medication dispensers with alarms can help a person remember when to take medicine.

If you want to learn more and find amazing tips about home designing for people with dementia, don’t forget to buy the book “10 Helpful hints for dementia design at home” by the Dementia Services Development Centre.

3 Important Legal Issues that Must Be Addressed after Dementia Diagnosis

When someone is diagnosed with dementia, health issues take the spotlight. We worry a lot about our elders’ mental health that we forget to deal with fundamental legal issues that are just as vital as health and must be addressed with the same efficiency. Addressing these issues at the very first stages of the disease means getting ready for the future, and preparing for a moment in which this person will no longer think consciously nor be able to make legal decisions without support.


1. Consent to treatment

When facing a health issue, we as patients must be able to make medical decisions. The inability to make decisions by oneself is called impaired capacity, which is very common in patients with dementia. The law protects patients with impaired capacity and created a series of procedures and safeguards to let patients give consent to medical treatments or interventions on their own. However, as dementia worsens, it affects the mental capabilities of the patient, reaching a moment in which they can’t give valid consent. To be ready for this moment, it is important that patients designate an attorney or a guardian that makes all decisions on their behalf.


2. Advance care planning

Advance care planning is a way to make your health treatment decisions and preferences known in advance. It allows to stipulate what kind of treatments or interventions the patient feels comfortable with and which ones they don’t want to undergo, whether they want measures to extend life to be applied and for how long or to be let go smoothly, or if they would like to donate their organs after death. Patients can leave a written statement in which they declare how they want to be treated before they become unable to make decisions or pass away.


3. Wills

Wills are designed to decide in advance what is going to occur with personal assets, like belongings, money, and properties, after death. This is an excellent way to make sure a person’s wishes are fulfilled when they are gone, there are help guides for seniors to choosing their plans & wishes before the time comes, so family aren’t left planning and paying for everything. The patient can write it on its own, but it’s better if they receive help from a solicitor, who then will also sign it to make it legal.

What matter the most is that people with dementia can exercise their rights, make plans and make decisions on their own before they can no longer do so, to make sure everything is carried according to their preferences. If you want to learn more about legal issues and the rights of people with dementia, don’t forget to but the book “10 questions about the law and dementia in Scotland” by the Dementia Services Development Centre.