Dementia-friendly environments

The physical environment can work well – or make some big problems – for people living with dementia, whether it’s in a person’s own home or a care home. Assistive technology, developing dementia-friendly communities, understanding risk – all these issues play an important part in supporting people living with dementia.

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Designing kitchen and dining areas for those with dementia

Kitchen and dining areas

Eating and drinking are always important, but a person with dementia may lose their appetite and their ability to care for themselves in this way. The design of a kitchen can help a person with dementia to find and use what they need. If the kitchen and dining areas are recognisable, for example, with a clear lay-out and appealing cooking smells, this stimulates the appetite and encourages people to do as much as possible for themselves.

Designing bedrooms for those with dementia

Bedrooms

The bedroom should be a private, cosy and safe place which promotes a good night's sleep. People with dementia may need help with finding and recognising their bedroom. Design and technology can help to improve arrangements for sleeping for people with dementia.

making the toilet and bathroom easier to use for those with dementia

Toilets and bathrooms

It is important to make the toilet or bathroom a safe and easy place for a person with dementia to use. The right design can help a person with dementia to maintain their independence and dignity over personal care. Going to the toilet or having a bath or shower should be, if not enjoyable, at least stress-free.

Making gardens safe and secure for those with dementia

Gardens

A garden offers fresh air, exercise and exposure to sunlight which is vital for wellbeing. People with dementia generally will be less likely to become agitated and distressed if they can have regular access to fresh air and exercise and a quiet space away from others as needed. The garden can be a safe and secure environment if designed properly.

Good lighting can help those with dementia

Lighting

Good lighting is particularly important for people with dementia as it can help them make sense of their environment. Make the best use possible of natural daylight. Technology can help with managing variations in sunlight and artificial light.

Using technology to help those with dementia

Assistive technology

Technology can be used in a variety of ways to help people with dementia in their daily living, and is known as 'assistive technology'. Some technology is simple to install and use, some is more involved. Finding individual solutions for each person with dementia can help them maintain their independence for as long as possible.

creating a relaxing environment for those with dementia

Creating a relaxing environment

Having dementia is very stressful and exhausting. All the problems of dementia, including agitation, sleeplessness, wandering and aggression, are made worse by stress. Stress can be reduced with environmental changes. Each person with dementia is different, so work at finding solutions that suit the individual. Remember to draw on all the senses and avoid overstimulation.

Reducing noise levels for those with dementia

Noise levels

Of all the senses, hearing is the one that has the most significant impact on people with dementia in terms of quality of life. Noise that is acceptable to care staff may be distressing and disorientating for a person with dementia. We can reduce noise levels by careful design, using noise absorbing materials, and the thoughtful use of decor and furnishings. We can improve communication with people with dementia by being more attentive to the impact of noise during the day and night.

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