Most homes and apartment complexes aren’t built with the needs of an individual living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias in mind. Dementia affects the mind and nearly every aspect of a person’s life, including making many facets of daily living more difficult. Almost every part of a residence can impact the quality of life for someone living with dementia and their family care partners. Therefore, even cosmetic choices, like wall colors, furniture patterns and dishware, make a big difference.
KCAL’s recent article entitled “Dementia-Friendly ‘Apartment’ Showcases Technology, Designs For Helping Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s” reports that the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America created The Apartment. It is a model studio residence built in AFA’s New York City headquarters that showcases the ways that practical design and technology can greatly increase the quality of life for someone living with dementia and help family care partners protect their loved ones’ safety.
For instance, a calming color scheme can help if your loved one is agitated.
“You see the blue on the couch and the bedding and throughout the apartment. It affects an individual’s mood, providing a calming effect,” says Charles J. Fuschillo Jr., president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
A smart refrigerator has a camera inside that caregivers and family can access on an app from outside the apartment. This allows them to display images and important messages on the door.
“That will tell you, are they taking their medication? Are they eating and are they drinking when you’re not here?” he tells CBS News.
The stove can be completely covered with burners that will only heat up to a certain temperature. Therefore, if there’s a fire, there are extinguishers which contain baking soda in the unit hooked up by magnets that will explode at a certain temperature and put out the fire.
There are special dishes that are easier to grasp, and the phone can be programmed with either large numbers or pictures of a resident’s family and friends. Therefore, they could see a picture of their grandson and just press the button to automatically call him.
There’s also a simplified remote control for the TV. You just press one button, and you go to the favorite channel. There is no need to surf.
In the apartment there are also clocks with very large numbers and labels with words and pictures to show what’s inside drawers. The AFA recommends decorating the home with old family pictures and old magazines.
“When you look at these old Life magazines, you remember seeing these when we were kids. It will spark a memory of something in their life,” Fuschillo reveals.
These are helpful for tips for individuals living with dementia and their care partners. These families should also ensure that their legal and financial house is in order by reviewing their estate plan and advance directives with an experienced Elder Law Attorney. Contact our office for a free consultation.
Reference: KCAL (Aug. 23, 2021) “Dementia-Friendly ‘Apartment’ Showcases Technology, Designs For Helping Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s”