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Decorating for Dementia

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Posted on 1st April 2021.

When springtime falls, many of us look upon it as a time to dust away the webs of winter and illuminate our homes with vibrant flowers and the fresh scent of spring. And whilst we look at brightening up our homes for spring, it can also be an opportunity to enhance your loved one’s home if they are living with dementia. Whether you are planning to redecorate or want some inspiration for arranging furniture, we have got some top tips on making their home dementia friendly.

Making the home comfortable:

First up, we have a few examples of how to best use your furniture and layout to make the home less disruptive to those affected by dementia.

  • Simple remote controls with large, clearly labelled buttons can be bought to help your loved one; these remotes are universal, which means that they will work with any TV.
  • It may seem simple, but by decluttering the home will not only reduce the risk of trips and falls, but your loved one will find moving around the house a calmer experience. Remove rugs and excess furniture from pathways, or anything else that might obstruct the ease of movement from one room to another.
  • With blossom on the trees and new plants popping up outside, a fantastic way to bring light into the room is by moving their favourite chair next to a window. It is a great opportunity to make the most of natural light and watch the world go by from the comfort of their chair.
  • The key to making the bedroom a calmer, more tranquil space is by having minimal clutter, as those living with dementia can often experience disrupted sleep.


Where to bring in memory aids in the home:

  • Putting family photos around the house is a great way of gently reminding your loved one of treasured memories.
  • In the kitchen, use a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge or a cork board to write reminders on, such as doctor or dentist appointments.
  • Put a list of important contact numbers by the phone, reminding them who to contact in an emergency or if they feel distressed.
  • Use sticky notes for reminders around the home, such as ‘wash your hands’ in the bathroom, or to label appliances that are ‘hot’ or ‘cold’.


Colour and flooring

  • When it comes to walls and flooring, try to choose one colour for the walls and another for the floor as this will help your loved one differentiate between the two. Although it may be tempting to pick a pretty design for the walls, it is best to avoid patterns when decorating for dementia; block colours are most suitable to avoid overstimulation.
  • Contrasting colours are imperative when decorating for dementia and you can also consider tone – if both the walls and floor are light in colour, consider using a darker trim for the skirting to help emphasise the size of the room and to help your loved one establish doorways.
  • Although extensive research has been done into colour use for dementia, such as Dulux’s Dementia Friendly Colour Palette and Design Guide, ultimately it is a very personal decision. It can be beneficial to look into the general impact of colours on dementia, such as the use of light pastel colours that bring brightness to a room, but it is key to discuss colour choices with your loved one prior to decorating.
  • Feature walls are often used for style but when you are decorating for dementia, they can highlight obstacles such as handrails and radiators.


Furniture and objects

  • Forward planning makes buying furniture and other large household items much easier, and it’s always worth considering the impact that object might have: will it disrupt pathways? Is the design overstimulating? Does it stand out from the other objects in the room?
  • Daily living aids can make a huge difference to someone living with dementia; something as simple as a grab rail can instil confidence when moving around the home.
  • Other details to consider when decorating for dementia are smaller items, such as crockery. Consider plates that are in a block colour that contrasts from the dining table so that they stand out.
  • For the bedroom, heavy curtains or black out blinds are beneficial to avoiding disruption from outside noise and light.
  • A nightlight or low-lit lamp in the corridor can make going to the toilet in the night easier, without causing disturbance to sleep.
  • Organisation and labelling are fantastic aids in the home for those affected by dementia, such as labelling the cutlery draw, where the teabags are, or the hot and cold taps in the bathroom.

A helping hand…

We understand that living with dementia can cause disruptions to your everyday life, but with a helping hand you and your loved ones can enjoy all of your home comforts and focus on what is important: spending time as a family. Here at Helping Hands, we specialise in bespoke dementia care, from visiting care to help you get out of bed and assist with personal care, to round-the-clock support with a live-in carer to give you and your loved ones peace of mind, night and day.

For more information, please call 0330 029 8699 or request a callback and we will call you.

Alice Clough Campaign & Content Executive
About Alice joined the Helping Hands team in January 2021. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Film Studies and writes for her own blog. Read Alice's full profile