For a person living with dementia, keeping active and remaining independent in the things they enjoy is extremely important for emotional and physical wellbeing.
By creating an environment that provides opportunities for a person to live a familiar lifestyle can be hugely beneficial, not only for the person but also for the care facility.
The right environment can help people with dementia:
- Foster emotional connections with others
- Lessen anxiety and irritability that dementia may bring
- Make people with dementia feel more engaged
- Awaken positive memories
- Aid independence and confidence
Influencing the physical space to support a variety of activities
The physical environment can play a significant role in the treatment of people with dementia. By helping care facilities make some simple changes to support a stimulating environment, Find have found that residents and patients appear happier, less bored and more likely to interact with other people.
What changes could you make to the physical environment to encourage engagement and aid wayfinding?
It can be difficult to know where and how to start implementing environmental changes. Dementia-friendly design is extremely important in achieving quality care for people with dementia. The design should be enabling and maximise the person’s ability to engage with the environment, independence and enhance confidence.
By making some simple changes, several challenges can be addressed, for example;
- Engagement. By creating a purposeful activity area that is not overstimulating, you can help residents/patients engage with their surroundings and the people in it. Make sure the area is well-lit with no unnecessary noise. Use a contrasting colour to help people perceive different surfaces. Introduce sensory and tactile surfaces. Artwork, murals and interactive furniture can all be used to create a themed area throughout the facility.
- Wayfinding. Introduce noticeable landmarks through the use of artwork and colour. These can be used as reference points to help with wayfinding and encourage interaction. Use murals, music and interactive furniture to help them understand where they are and what they can do. Use dementia-friendly signage that is a mixture of pictures and words. Place the sign at 1.2m from the floor and ensure it is a contrasting colour to where it is being placed to ensure visibility.
Orientation. Using strong contrasting colours which draw attention to areas that are used by residents/patients, such as doors to bedrooms and aids like toilet seats and handrails. This will help residents/patients remain independent, and reduce stress and anxiety caused by not being able to locate what they are trying to find.
Individualisation of personal spaces. Even those of us without cognitive impairment can get lost and confused when each hallway looks the same, and each bedroom door (and all of the other doors) leading off of it looks the same. Create opportunities to help residents find their bedroom through personal items in memory boxes, photos that are personal to them, signage and different coloured doors.
Living with dementia means coping with a range of issues and Find understands and constantly strives to develop new and innovative products. With the introduction of Find’s murals and interactive furniture, we have proven that providing meaningful destination points such as cafes and shops can result in reduced anxiety, increased levels of nutrition and hydration, higher levels of exercise and improved social interaction. Medical Professionals have also commented on finding these socially-interactive areas better than bedrooms for carrying out assessments on individuals.
Our products won’t cure dementia but they will make living with dementia easier and will transform any area into a friendlier, less challenging environment.
To learn more about Find, click here to visit their website.