There’s no question that we all need a certain amount of organization in our daily lives. After all, this gives you some kind of peace and control. And when you live with or are taking care of someone with dementia, this becomes even more important. Learn how to organize your home to make it safe and friendly for those living with dementia.
Tip 1: Set Up Home Routines
One of the best things you can do to stay organized in your home when someone has dementia is to set up a routine. This is just like when you have a baby. A routine helps to deliver comfort and security in an uncertain world.
It’s best to have an activity and care plan in place that allows everyone in the home to know all the activities that are planned for each day. Place the plan somewhere in the home that’s very central and noticeable – perhaps a whiteboard in the kitchen and direct them to it each day. The fewer changes you make to the plan, the better. For example, if the person in your home suffering from dementia is used to reading a book after lunch, avoid scheduling a doctor’s appointment at that time.
Tip 2: Use Labels
Labels and signs in the home can be extremely helpful for someone with dementia. After all, they can help them find items they need regularly or simply find the way to the bathroom or the kitchen.
Using signs for medication use should also be considered. A simple sign serves as a reminder that they need to take the medication at a specific time, drink a glass of water or eat a snack.
Tip 3: Find A Place For Everything
As we mentioned above, home organizing is incredibly important for someone with dementia. The truth is that it’s not hard for people with dementia to struggle to remember where to find things in the kitchen, for example. In case they are trying to prepare tea and they can’t remember that the mugs are in one place and the tea bag in a different place, they won’t probably even bother looking for them. And this can end up hurting their overall health causing frustration. Don’t move items around to different places in the home. Keep things functional and in their designated places, and ensure you use labels and signs as mentioned above.
Tip 4: Reduce Decisions
While you shouldn’t prevent people with dementia from their options, it is wise to reduce the number of their decisions. Simply put, you need to find a balance so that they are still allowed to choose but not to a point where they may feel overwhelmed.
For example, if you need to take this person to the doctor, allow them to choose the outfit. However, instead of opening the wardrobe and letting them choose from a wide variety of pieces, you can simply grab 2 or 3 outfits at most and let them choose from those.
Tip 5: Keep Their Surroundings Clutter Free
It’s important to keep their surroundings as clutter free as you can to avoid overwhelm and frustration. Researchers from Princeton University found that clutter can actually have an impact on ones ability to focus on a given task – specifically stating that the visceral cortex can get overwhelmed by task irrelevant objects. If this is possible for someone without dementia, think about how much more important is is to keep your space clutter free and organized for one suffering with dementia. In the bedroom for example, remove all clutter from the floor to ensure your loved one doesn’t trip and fall – keeping all shoes and slippers in the closet when not in use. Situate their bed so it’s facing the way to the bathroom, leaving the bathroom light on at night. In the kitchen, ensure surfaces are clutter free and that there is a space for everything.
Home organizing may not be very easy when you live with or need to take care of someone with dementia. However, it doesn’t need to be hard either. Overall, you need to think that home organizing is crucial to ensure the person doesn’t feel agitated, frustrated or stressed – and most importantly, for their overall safety. If you find yourself in the position of needing to organize your home to accommodate someone with dementia and need a little extra support – feel free to call us! We’re more than happy to help and make this an easy transition for all involved.