Home is where the heart is. An aging loved one who experiences memory loss, either due to dementias, like Alzheimer’s disease, or nutritional deficiencies, medication side effects or a stroke, will struggle to adjust to her living environment—even if she’s lived there for years. It becomes increasingly important for family members to design the senior’s home in such a way that eases the frustrations felt by the onset of memory loss.
As seniors age, certain changes in the brain can lead to challenges with memory. A senior afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, or another serious illness that affects memory, interprets everyday objects differently. Depth perception is lost in those with memory issues. Experts give the example of a black rug that may be seen as a gaping hole in the floor by a senior whose depth perception is affected. In a home with poor lighting, the senior in need of memory care is overwhelmed by disconcerting shadows and glaring lights from the windows. Visual cues, like shapes, fail to offer concrete guidance to seniors with memory problems.
An aging brain fails to differentiate colors easily. Distorted colors are the result. The senior will not notice a black television remote control positioned on a darkly colored coffee table, for example. Similarly, a room with white curtains and cream-colored carpeting will be a visual challenge for seniors to navigate.
Help the loved one in your life safely maneuver around the home by adding contrasting colors. Hang dark, solid drapes in the family room if the carpets are light colored. The colors of towels hanging in the bathroom should contrast with the walls. Plus, the toilet should ideally feature a color that stands out against the other fixtures and the floor in the bathroom.
Add color variance to the sofa or sofa cover so that it stands out from the color of the carpeting. Such an improvement aids the senior and prevents confusion when she aims to take a seat. Contrasting colors between flooring and the walls also encourage proper balance in seniors with poor vision.
Similarly, brightly colored dinnerware helps seniors discern between the food and the plate. Experts recommend yellow plates, since most foods contrast with this hue. Seeing the food clearly on the plate encourages the senior to see and, resultingly, consume more food.
When adjusting the hues inside the home, recognize that older individuals are presented with a visual challenge when attempting to differentiate certain colors, like blues from greens.
The onset of memory loss prompts a need for brighter lighting. Adjusting the lighting in the senior’s home alleviates much of the disorientation that results from a poorly lit environment.
Screw in lightbulbs that feature significantly higher watts. Any nightlights should be low level. Install motion-controlled lighting so the senior does not fumble with the light switches in darkened rooms and hallways.
A senior living with memory issues struggles with everyday routines, as they no longer remember how to use household fixtures. As their disease progresses, time and place become difficult to recall, leaving the elder struggling to find once-familiar rooms in the home.
Provide a sense of ease by labeling the fixtures and rooms in the home. For instance, label the bathroom and kitchen sinks’ faucets “cold” and “hot”. Place a picture of the toilet on the front of the bathroom door. On the kitchen cupboards, hang a list of their contents, like the plates, cups, etc.
Colors, too, can serve as “labels” and help seniors navigate their home. For instance, seniors may recognize where they are based on the color of the room’s blue carpeting, yellow walls or red furniture.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from a limited field of vision. The loss of peripheral vision allows aging individuals to only see objects immediately before them and at eye level. Considering the development of tunnel vision, a home with too many objects only confuses seniors experiencing memory loss.
Keep clutter to a minimum, as elders are likely to become inactive when the home is riddled with excessive furniture and an abundance of décor.
Rich patterns and swirls along rugs, carpets or furniture provoke confusion in the senior with memory issues. The elder’s capacity to function (including their cognition and activity level) decreases with the prevalence of visual racket.
Provide a simple home environment with solid colored furniture or sofa covers. In addition, experts recommend positioning the furniture to encourage social engagement. This means facing the sofas toward each other rather than directly toward the television screen.
Advancements in assistive technology are a boon for families with loved ones experiencing memory loss. High-tech devices beneficial to seniors with memory issues include medical alert buttons or motion sensors that alert caregivers when a senior who is prone to wandering opens certain doors. Recently developed sensors also have the functionality to recognize when an aging individual has fallen. Medication reminders come in the form of user-friendly electronic gadgets families can purchase online.
Memory loss is far from easy to endure, provoking frustration and, in some cases, shut down. Adapting the home to a loved one’s condition offers a welcoming sense of security and familiarity. Plus, adjusting the home environment allows the senior with memory problems the opportunity to remain at home longer.
A caregiver is instrumental in helping the senior live at home for as long as possible. Families who opt for a professional caregiver can turn to the reliable elder care services through Assisting Hands Home Care. As a senior care agency, Assisting Hands Home Care provides exceptionally qualified and trained caregivers who help seniors with activities of daily living (ADLs), including transportation, bathing, grooming, meal preparation and medication reminders.
The home care agency’s non-medical services are comprehensive and dependably address seniors’ memory care needs. Assisting Hands Home Care offers a wealth of home care options, such as 24-hour care, respite care and Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Turn to the compassionate caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care when the need for senior home care becomes a necessity. Assisting Hands Home Care reliably serves the families and senior populations in Miami, FL and surrounding areas in Miami-Dade and Kendall Counties, FL.