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If you are living with a loved one with dementia, or if he or she is living alone, it is important to make the home dementia-friendly. Adjunct Associate Professor Lim Si Ching, Senior Consultant from the Department of Geriatric Medicine; Li Fuyin, Advance Practice Nurse (Geriatric); and Seng Yuh Jen, Senior Medical Social Worker, all from Changi General Hospital (CGH), a member of the SingHealth group, advises how.

Creating a safe home for a loved one with dementia

 1. Have ample lighting

Good lighting enables a person with dementia see clearly and make better sense of their surroundings. Ensuring your home has natural lighting also helps the person stay aware of the time, day and the weather. To have better control over the amount of indoor lighting, use dimmer switches.

2. Keep floors clear at all times

Remove floor mats and rugs from the floor as they can cause trips and falls. Also, make sure cables for lights and other appliances are not a tripping hazard.

3. Use colour and labels for furnishings and home items

Dementia can affect a person's ability to differentiate colours and to view objects in three dimension.

By using bright and contrasting colours for furniture, it can help persons with dementia identify things more easily.

Having visual cues such as pictures or labels on the outside of cupboards, wardrobes and drawers are also helpful in helping them remember where things are kept.

 

4. Ensure easy bathroom access

Having difficulty locating the bathroom can definitely cause anxiety, especially for those with dementia. If your home has a number of rooms, put signs consisting of a picture of a toilet with the word 'toilet' on bathroom doors, at a height that is easy to see.

Remove unused items to prevent causing distraction/confusion to the dementia patient.

5. Install grab rails, alarms and sensors at home

This will help your loved one with dementia stay safe at home, especially if they live alone - providing you with peace of mind too.

Ref: L20

See the previous page on how to understand common dementia behaviours.

See the next page for tips to prevent caregiver burnout and whom to turn to for help

Want to know more about Dementia Care? Register now for the SingHealth Duke-NUS Memory and Cognitive Disorder Centre (SDDC) Scientific Meeting, happening on 18 September 2020

 

Also, check out our other articles on dementia:

Dementia in Singapore: Fast Facts

Dementia: What You Need to Know

Dementia and Depression: Is There a Link?

Young Onset Dementia (YOD): Dementia That Affects the Young

Brain Diseases: Early Signs to Look Out For