There are many challenges to face when you have a loved one struggling with dementia. If they move to an assisted living community, the sudden and numerous changes can be overwhelming, for both the dementia patient as well as their family. It’s hard to know how to help your loved one through this, but a fun and feasible way to help is to thoughtfully assist them in setting up their new apartment. Here are some memory care decorating ideas that will help bring a feeling of calm and safety to your loved one in memory care.
Dementia is a progressive condition where a person experiences memory loss. There are seven different stages ranging from very mild to very severe cognitive decline. Depending on the individual, they may experience a gradual decline or they could have a rapid decline in memory and cognitive function.
Sometimes, the patient will have a moment or episode of confusion and disorientation but be fine minutes later. Because it’s difficult to predict the path each individual’s dementia will progress along, safety, a sense of calm, and familiarity play a big part in memory care decor.
Utilize natural lighting. In poor lighting, it’s hard to find light switches, and searching for one that isn’t there can create unnecessary stress. Having natural light also reduces shadows. A combination of the resident’s decreased vision and shadows being cast across their home can startle a senior.
Choose both colors that contrast and colors that are dark and light. As we age, it becomes harder to find like-colored items, and they can be easier to differentiate when surrounded by objects that contrast.
Balance becomes an issue for everyone as they get older. This means anything that can be tripped over needs to be removed. This includes rugs, furniture that is low to the ground or may not be seen, and any loose cords.
Making the home feel cozy and familiar is essential. Bring some of their special and sentimental items and place them throughout their new home. Fill their space with memories from their lives, hobbies, and photographs of their loved ones or special trips they took. Fill their home with pieces of their life that will take them back and allow them to remember all of their good and cherished moments.
It’s not unusual for patients in memory care to leave their rooms and wander a bit. Seeing as many doors can look very similar, providing some cues on the outside of their room will help remind them which door leads them to their home. Making a shadowbox with a familiar picture of them and some other personalized item can help them recognize which door is theirs.
Our wonderful team at BridgeWater Assisted Living is happy to partner with you in providing a safe and familiar home for your loved one. Along with these memory care decorating ideas, we have many ways to help during difficult moments of confusion or anxiety. For more information on our exclusive science-based activity program for memory care and how we can help your loved one, give us a call.