Getting the environment right for dementia patients
Over the next decade, the UK is expected to see an increase of those with dementia of around 150,000 taking the total to around 1 million individuals by 2025.
This unfortunate statistic demonstrates the growing need for care homes to plan ahead and promote a supportive environment that can make a big difference. The benefits are clear - successful dementia-friendly settings prevent confusion and reduce tension among residents, significantly improving health and general wellbeing.
Furniture is an essential aspect in creating the right environment. It is important to consider items that have been specifically designed to help people with dementia feel more relaxed and at home. For example, bedroom cabinet furniture with scoop-shaped drawer fronts enabling residents to easily see what is inside.
Specialist signage is another simple and cost-effective way to improve the way dementia sufferers identify rooms and find their way around. Signs should always be a single bright colour with an image that clearly indicates the purpose of a room without needing memory. For example, for a bathroom you would expect to find an image of a toilet along with an arrow clearly indicating the direction of its location.
Some dementia residents tend to spend a lot of their time sitting down, so it is important any seating is comfortable and caters for personal preferences of individuals. A range of seats that are different heights and depths can offer residents a choice to ensure they have a seat that is right for them.
It is also important for flooring and furniture to contrast in colours, as this can help patients easily identify between the two. Another positive move is to build a focal point within a room, such as a fire place or television as this will be a more familiar setting for patients.