Once your elderly family member is diagnosed with dementia, you might want to consider making some changes in order to help her to navigate her home more easily. These changes can allow her to continue to live in her home for much longer than either of you expect possible.
Make it Easy to Spot the Time and the Date
People with dementia sometimes find it difficult to keep up with a time of day and even the date and day of the week. If it’s easy for her to spot the date and time, it’s much easier for your elderly family member to reorient herself when she needs to do so. A large digital clock and a calendar that is easy for you to update can be a huge help.
Make Everything Easier to See
Overall, the easier it is for your senior to spot and to identify items that she needs or wants, that’s going to be less confusing and frustrating for her. Having a more minimalistic approach can help with this because clutter and simply having many things around gets visually complicated. Put items that she doesn’t use or need often away in cabinets and clear off surfaces as much as possible.
Reduce the Amount of Different Patterns
Making things easier to see can sometimes mean changing the colors of your senior’s home. If every room has white walls that all look alike, she might find them blending together. Contrasting colors can break up that visual. But be careful if there are already a few colors and patterns competing in the space. Too much contrast can be visually confusing, which then leads to bigger confusion.
Label Rooms or Leave Interior Doors Open
People with dementia can very easily lose track of where in the house they are. This can be especially true if doors are closed. One way around this can be to start leaving those doors open. That way your elderly family member can easily see inside each room. If she doesn’t like this idea, another solution could be to label each room with a specific sign that indicates what happens there.
Something else that you might want to consider is hiring senior care providers to help out. They can take care of light housekeeping for your senior and offer her a friendly face during the day. This can be particularly important if you’re not able to be there with her during the day.