When it comes to caring for people living with dementia, providing the right surroundings, amenities, and attention is vital. Although there is no cure for this condition, memory care patients can enjoy a good quality of life and find daily satisfaction when caregivers are mindful of their needs. If you have a loved one living with dementia—whether they are in a care facility or with family—make sure the environment is conducive to their well-being.
Pay Attention to the Noise Levels
Certain sounds in a memory care facility might not bother staff members or visitors, but they could agitate memory care residents. People living with dementia often struggle with loud noises more than they do with other senses. Facilities should have sound-absorbing materials on the walls and other surfaces. Staff should be cautious about disrupting patients with noises that could alarm or frighten the patients. When communicating with a memory care resident, it’s best to do so in a noise-free environment.
Provide Areas With Gardens and Other Safe Outdoor Spaces
The fresh air is good for dementia patients. A memory care resident should spend time outside in the sunlight. A garden and other landscaped outdoor spaces are ideal for patients to exercise, get stress relief, and have quiet solitude. Make sure the garden is fenced, gated, or otherwise has safety measures to prevent the memory care resident from wandering off.
Have Patient-Friendly Bathrooms
Many dementia patients are capable of handling their own personal care in the restroom. A facility should have an effective design that allows patients to take care of themselves in a dignified way. The toilet, sink, and shower should be easy to use and have the necessary modifications so the patient would not feel anxious.
Keep Rooms Free of Obstacles and Clutter
Memory care residents can be susceptible to tripping and slip-and-fall accidents. It’s important for the patient room to have plenty of space to move around, without objects getting in the way. Eliminate clutter as much as possible, and there should be no rugs or cords in walking paths. It’s not enough to show patients where obstacles are or tell them to avoid possible hazards.
As the National Institute on Aging puts it: “It’s more effective to change the person’s surroundings—for example, remove dangerous items—than to try to change behaviors. Changing the home environment can give the person more freedom to move around independently and safely.”
Make the Kitchen Area Familiar
Preparing meals may be too difficult for dementia patients, so kitchens need to be easy to navigate. In addition, those with dementia often no longer have an appetite and may lose the desire to eat and have a healthy diet. One way to mitigate this is to have aromas from the kitchen that can encourage the person to want to eat. A simple layout can also help.
To help memory care residents find enjoyment in life, create these types of environments. Make sure the care center where your loved one resides has these facilities.