- Use Colours in contrast to each other
Too many neutral shades in a room can add to the confusion experienced as a result of memory loss. Older people in general need up to three times as much contrast to locate objects than younger people. Combine light and dark colours, such as yellow and blue. Also keep in mind that warm tones can be seen more easily.
- Prompt Memory
Incorporate mementos from the past into the room design. In fact, a common therapeutical tool used by people working with those who are living with dementia is a “reminiscent room,” packed with older accessories and objects that stir up fond memories. Or a memory box mounted on the wall.
- Effective lighting
Another crucial aspect to a safe living space is sufficient lighting. Avoid fixtures that emit too much bright light. Never include any lights that twinkle or sparkle as this can increase confusion and cause falls.
Remember that natural light is the best way to illuminate a room during the day, as bright, natural environments have several positive effects on physiological states.
The choices you make regarding surfaces and flooring are important considerations as they change how easily dementia patients can navigate their home. Dementia patients often shuffle their feet, so even the smallest incline or decline in a room can result in a fall.
- Wandering Residents
Dementia patients often feel the urge to wander about, and more often than not forget where they are going or how to get back.
In recent years dementia units have often been designed to facilitate ‘wandering with a purpose’ providing residents with a destination or somewhere to focus on. For example, a corridor might have a communal area set up at the end of the corridor to give residents a place to walk to.
In some cases interesting imagery has been included or a library setup at the end of a corridor, helping to entice the residents to move around independently.