Adapting living environments for people with dementia
It’s important to create engaging environments where people living with dementia can live comfortably and feel supported to maintain independence.
People with dementia can become confused in their environment, so it’s a good idea to make everything is easily recognisable. Colour contrasts are often a quick and effective way of helping surroundings and important things to stand out – for example, try painting handrails, doors and furniture in bold colours.
Surrounding a person with photos or images that can trigger some of their favourite memories, or that are filled with engaging decorations and colours, may also be helpful. Many of Anchor Hanover’s care homes have reminiscence rooms (decorated to replicate the different eras and styles for example, with relevant artefacts, such as images, radios and TVs from a time that may feel more familiar) or hold reminiscence sessions, helping residents to relax and feel safe and connected in a way that is tailored to their individual needs.
Access to outside space is also important as it provides the opportunity for exercise, fresh air, relieves tension and anxiety, and offers personal space for reflection and privacy. Spending time outside has been shown to positively affect a person’s emotions and to improve their sense of wellbeing. It also stimulates the production of vitamin D, helping to maintain healthy muscles and bones, and offers stimulation through different colours, textures and natural smells and sounds.
Our care homes promote comfort, independence, and engagement. We base the layout and design of our homes on best practice guidance, including appropriate signage that is clearly worded and pictorially illustrated.
We use contrasting colours to help make our buildings more supportive and easier to navigate for those with impaired memory and high levels of anxiety. We focus on creating a homely atmosphere to promote feelings of safety and familiarity, as well as engaging themed areas based on what residents would like to see, that encourage engagement, nostalgia, and reminiscence. We encourage residents to create a ‘home-from-home’ atmosphere in their bedrooms by bringing their personal belongings into the home.
Most of our care homes have private, secure gardens with easy access and pathways residents can follow safely. In some locations we have created paths and areas that are circular so that residents going for walks will return to a familiar entrance, rather than reaching a dead end in the path which may be confusing to them.
Related information about dementia
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