9 Dementia Aids And Adaptations To Try In Your Home
September 12th, 2022
If you’re worried that a loved one may be showing signs of dementia, or if they’ve recently been diagnosed with the condition, it’s likely that you’ll want to make sure your home is as safe as possible as the disease progresses.
Aids to assist people living with dementia and memory prompts can be a huge help, giving you greater peace of mind, while helping your loved one to maintain their independence for longer. Read on to discover our top recommended aids for people living with dementia to benefit both those living with the condition and their carers.
9 Dementia Aids To Try
The dementia aids for memory support listed below are likely to be best suited to those in the early stages of the illness. Individuals with more advanced dementia may be more likely to need more specialised, round-the-clock support – your GP will be able to advise on the best care plan for your loved one.
1. Memory Prompts
The first step to adapting your home for a parent or loved one living with dementia is to add memory prompts around your home. Hand-written signs or post-it notes can be some of the most helpful dementia aids for memory support, helping to give everyone greater peace of mind.
Examples of memory prompts include:
- Stick a sign to the back of your front door reminding you to take your keys, wallet, and phone with you before you leave the house
- On the door that leads to your stairs, place a sign reminding you to turn the lights off, switch the TV off, and close any windows before you go up to bed
- Set alarms on your phone – you may want to be reminded when you need to take your medication, for example
- Leave a post-it note by the kettle to remind you to put the milk back in the fridge
- Always set a timer when you put food in the oven
- Stick important phone numbers, such as for family, friends, taxis, your GP, and emergency numbers in big writing close to the phone to act as a memory prompt when needed
2. Smart Technology
Smart home technology like the Amazon Echo or Google Home speakers can act as incredibly useful aids for dementia patients. Once programmed, smart speakers can be used to give reminders throughout the day, whether it’s to ‘take medication now’, ‘take the bins out tonight’, or ‘feed the cat’.
Those in the early stages of dementia may like to communicate with their smart speaker too; by starting a command with ‘Alexa’ or ‘OK Google’, they can ask the device questions – this could be anything from finding out the opening hours of the supermarket to asking who is the lead actor in the film they’re watching.
If you invest in other smart gadgets too, such as smart lighting, you can programme these to turn on or off at a certain time, which can help to save energy and keep bills more manageable.
Encouraging your loved one to use a smart speaker may help to provide you with a small break, as they may learn to ask their device for answers to some questions, rather than constantly ringing you. At the same time, knowing they’re receiving memory prompts from their device means you won’t need to be regularly ringing them to remind them to take medication or carry out other tasks.
3. Object Locator Devices
If you or your loved one are always losing your keys, phone, wallet, or glasses, object finders will be a lifesaver for you.
Not just dementia aids, object finders typically come with little electronic tags that you can attach to important items; then, when you can’t find something, you can press the object finder (which usually looks like a remote control or similar), and the little tags will beep, helping you to easily find your belongings.
Try a product like the Object Finder and Key Locator from AlzProducts.co.uk – just make sure you keep the remote control in a safe place.
4. Pill Dispensers
Automatic pill dispensers or those with the days of the week on can also be a helpful dementia aid, reminding people when to take their medication, and also allowing them to see at a quick glance whether or not they’ve taken their latest dose.
The Pivotell Advance Set is a handy automatic pill dispenser that can be programmed in advance to release pills at a particular time, so there’s no need to worry about remembering which to take and when.
5. Dementia Aids For Eating And Drinking
Dementia aids for eating and drinking can also help people living with the degenerative illness to maintain more independence for longer. For example, some people like to use adapted cutlery for dementia, such as cutlery with wider handles for weaker grips, or coated spoons for those with limited coordination.
Angled cutlery is another option – you have the choice of opting for knives, forks, and spoons that angle to either the left or the right, depending on where movement and coordination are limited most.
Non-spill cups, cups with lids, or cups with straws can also help people living with dementia to maintain a little more independence, as they’ll reduce the likelihood of any spills and subsequent mess.
6. Dementia Aids For Dressing
There are lots of different dementia aids that can help with dressing, which can help someone living with the condition to maintain a little more of their independence. These include:
- Long-handled shoe horns
- Zip pulls that attach to the bottom of a zip and can be easily pulled up, so fumbling fingers don’t need to worry about struggling to fasten coats and jackets
- The Bra Angel – this gadget is placed around the neck to hold one side of your bra while you put the other side on, making it easier to fasten
- Trousers with velcro fastenings
- Slip-on shoes
- Shirts without buttons
7. Waterproof Mattress
As dementia progresses, some people can lose control of bodily functions, including their bladder, which is why the next of our recommended dementia aids is a waterproof mattress, or at least a waterproof mattress protector. Although you’ll still need to regularly change the sheets, you shouldn’t need to wash the mattress as often, saving you a lot of extra time and work.
Investing in a hospital-grade waterproof mattress will provide you with a better level of protection and greater peace of mind – get a waterproof duvet and pillows to go with it too, for even more protection.
8. Non-Slip Rubber Gloves
Wearing non-slip rubber gloves for tasks like washing up can help to make this everyday task easier and safer for people whose coordination may have been affected by dementia.
Knowing that they’re less likely to drop and break plates or lose their grip on a knife and injure themselves can help to put your mind at rest, and it allows them to do something to help around the house, which can be important for their sense of pride.
9. Safety Bath Plug
It can be easy to forget that you’ve started running a bath at the best of times, and dementia can lead people to leave the taps running, risking a flood, and potentially lots of expensive damage. This is why the last of our dementia aids for memory support is a safety bath plug.
Try a gadget like the Magiplug Bath Plug, which can be attached to your existing bath plug chain, and is designed to prevent scalds, as well as flooding. It comes with an internal pressure release mechanism, which lets you set your preferred water level in advance. Any water that is added to the bath above that level will drain away, helping to prevent flooding, giving you greater peace of mind.
When Is Professional Dementia Care Necessary?
If you can no longer manage looking after a loved one living with dementia yourself or if it’s not safe for them to be living independently any more, it may be time to look into professional dementia care.
Dementia care is available at all of our New Care homes in Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside, Leeds, and Nottingham. All of our homes are designed with people living with dementia in mind to keep residents independent for as long as possible, and our care home staff are trained in delivering specialist dementia care.
As part of our dementia care offering, we encourage activities such as play via our ‘magic tables’, as research has been carried out into the benefits of creative play for people with degenerative conditions. Our magic tables are also a great way for the older generation to bond with younger relatives.