How To Make Life Easier For Dementia Patients Living At Home
The current number of people living with Dementia within the United States is appropriately 5.7 million, and it is projected to reach 13.9 million by 2060, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dementia prevalence is growing fast, and unless scientists find a medical breakthrough that prevents, slows or cures the disease, the only way to help patients is by providing physical and emotional support. However, taking care of a loved one who suffers from dementia can be extremely challenging, especially if you are not a professional caregiver. Luckily, there are changes you can make in their home to help them become more independent so that you don't need to do as much for them.
Make movement around the home easy
Dementia causes problems with balance , sensitivity to light, depth perception, and telling colors apart. This can make it hard for a patient to move around the home, and increases the risk of falls. To prevent this, you can start by ensuring that all parts of the house are well-lit so that the person can see clearly. Make sure the flooring is safe and free from potential trip hazards, such as cables and rugs. You can also install grab bars in various spots around the home to aid further in general movement.
Use smart tech tools and apps
Technology has created various tools that can come in handy for older people living at home, including dementia patients, whose symptoms are usually more severe as they age. For example, telecare systems such as movement sensors, smoke sensors and wearable alarms make it easier for you to leave your loved one alone without worrying too much. Pill dispensers that release the needed medication at the appropriate time can make medicine management easier for the older patients who have problems keeping track of their dosages. Smartphones also have a lot of technologies that help dementia patients, from simple apps like the alarm clock or reminder, to those specifically designed for them, such as dedicated games, reminiscence aids and digital photobooks. Smart home technologies such as voice-controlled lighting, air conditioning or entertainment can also drastically improve their quality of life.
Keep the home simple and clutter-free
People living with dementia thrive in a home that is simple and organized with lots of open spaces. Clutter around the home can confuse them, making it hard to find things or do simple tasks like eating. The best thing is to strip the home down to the basics the person needs to stay safe, comfortable and healthy. Keep everything organized, and have designated spots for everything to make it easier for them to remember. Pay attention to the colors around the home as well: stripes and strong patterns in the decor can be confusing, which is why you should use solid, bright and contrasting colors that they can see clearly.
Dementia affects not only the patient but also the loved ones who take care of them. By making some changes in a patient's home, you can give them back some of their independence, and in the process, make it easier for you to care for them.
This article was written by Jane Robertson who is a freelance writer. We thank her for her work. The top photograph was by Steven HWG on Unsplash. Again, we are grateful.
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