Sensitivity to the surroundings around them is one of the main issues among seniors who struggle with dementia and Alzheimer’s. In order to soothe agitation and lessen difficult behaviors, it’s important to create a calm and relaxing environment. If you are looking for tips on how to modify the home to make it a calm healthy environment for senior adults, read on!
Here are 5 ways to help create a calm environment for the older adult in your family.
1. Lower the noise level
Background noise can be over-stimulating to the senses, especially for someone living with dementia. They can become agitated if exposed to high noise levels. Try using materials in the home that help reduce noise. Curtains, fabric furniture and plush carpets can all help to reduce noise and help create a calm atmosphere. Outside noise can be reduced by installing double-paned windows.
Keep in mind that too much silence can also be jarring to seniors, so you may want to try soothing music or TV and radio programs at a low level can be reassuring and keep them company when they feel alone.
2. Think about your décor
Believe it or not, the decorations and furnishings in the home can cause dementia patients to feel distressed sometimes. For example, mirrors can be frightening. They may mistake their reflection for someone who is staring at them and this can cause panic and anxiety. Consider either removing mirrors or covering them when not in use.
Reflections caused by nighttime street lights can also be jarring. Seniors with dementia may see reflections in windows that are caused by lights. This can be scary and cause agitation.
Choosing contrasting color schemes in the rooms of the home can be helpful for seniors to distinguish where the outline of the room is. This can prevent falls or other injuries that come from being disoriented.
3. Create good lighting
Elderly people often have poor vision, so it’s important that the lighting is good in the home. Keep the things that are needed the most in the same spot, easy to reach, and well lit. Use light bulbs with a higher wattage and whenever possible, have natural lighting.
Shadows can be frightening for dementia patients, so try to position lamps in such a way that ominous shadows don’t fall near where they will walk or sit for prolonged periods.
4. Create a sanctuary
No matter where they live, seniors who have dementia need a place that feels safe, where they can retreat in times of stress or anxiety. It might be a favorite chair or a spot in the bedroom that feels cozy, but they need a place where they can retreat if they feel the need. They may also enjoy doing activities like working puzzles or reading which could be part of that space.
5. Make sure it’s easy to find things
For patients who suffer with mental impairment, it is very stressful and frustrating to lose items they need. Make sure the things they need are within reach and easy to see. You might consider labeling cabinets and drawers, or even take pictures of the things inside to place on the drawers, etc. Making things easy to see and easy to reach is the main goal here.
For more information on lowering agitation in seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, please contact us today!
Home Helpers of San Juan Capistrano is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Ladera Ranch, California.