For people living with dementia the ability to recognise visual inputs to the brain remains crucial to being able to continue to cope. The problem is that things you and I take for granted can be confusing and disorientating when seen through the eyes of someone with dementia. This is especial true when there are lots of colours and patterns mixed together.
To combat this it’s very important to make things that are important stand out. For example doors can be painted a bright colour with different colours being used for different purposes. For example, using green for all toilet and bathroom doors.
To further improve this signs can be attached to the doors as well as labels. So, the toilet door would have a large simple and clear image of a toilet on it at head height along with a sign reading toilet in large easy to read text.
Here’s a great example of the signage that can be used to help dementia sufferers
When you are looking for a care home for your loved one check out the internal signage of the building to see if modifications like this have been done. If not it’s likely that the home is not a true dementia specialist and it’s best to move on and find one that it.
This is equally applicable if you are looking at short term or day care or full time residential care. When attending day care it’s important that your loved one feels comfortable and relaxed as soon as possible. Disorientation and confusion are the two worst problems faced by those with dementia so anything that is being done to minimise these is good. Eliminating confusing signage and replacing it with clear and easy to understand items will help enormously with this.
Another good indicator of a care home that is accommodating the needs of residents with dementia is the provision of memory aids and signs. These often take the form of treasured possessions or photographs from the persons past. These have strong associations and therefore provoke strong memories which help with self identity and memory retention.
Related to this Nestle have recently produced a range of reminiscence packs that contain nostalgic period advertising. These again trade on the strong associations with the past to help keep the memory function alive and strong. The packs are available to care homes to download for free from the company’s website.
We hope that this introduction to specialist dementia signage will help you to identify the best care home for your loved one. Also remember all these ideas are equally applicable to your own home. In future articles we’ll be examining how the décor and furnishings can also help to improve the lives of those living with dementia.
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