This week, for Dementia Action Week – from 21 September-27 September - Dementia Australia is sharing daily tips showing simple, yet effective, ways to support people living with dementia.
Today, on day one, Dementia Australia is focusing on how to make home life easier for people living with dementia with a few smart changes.
At the age of 59, Dennis Frost was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Since then, Mr Frost has been involved with a number of community initiatives and he is able to continue living well with dementia with a few small changes to his home environment.
“The crux of why you want to change things around the house is that it helps maintain your existing lifestyle for as long as possible,” Mr Frost said.
"In my house the coffee cups live on one shelf, in the right order. You could even find them in the dark without any issues.
“You can apply this to other items around the home, and it becomes intuitive that things are always going to be in the same place, so your efforts don’t have to go into locating them.
“If changes are being made in the home, the person with dementia will find them more useful and easier to accept if they’ve been involved in the planning."
Creating a dementia-friendly environment can go a long way to improving the lives of people with dementia. A dementia-friendly environment is familiar to the person, easily accessible, safe, secure, and supports the person living with dementia to retain their independence.
Some simple changes that can be made around the house include:
- Consider having the toilet door a different colour to other doors
- Consider symbols or photographs to indicate the function of the room
- Use a whiteboard or calendar to post notes of appointments
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said dementia affects close to half a million Australians.
“That number is set to double in the next 25 years, which means that many Australians will start experiencing the impact of dementia among their own family and friends,” Ms McCabe said.
“With so many people impacted now and into the future, it is vital we clear up some of the prevailing misconceptions about dementia, which can lead to judgements by the community about the capacity of a person living with dementia and condescending behaviours.
Such beliefs can lead to significant discrimination against people living with dementia.
“However, people living with dementia can continue to live active and rich lives for many years after diagnosis.
“The theme for this year’s Dementia Action Week is Dementia. A little support makes a lot of difference. because a little support really can make such a difference.”
To find out more about today’s tip, and the tips for each day of the week, head to dementia.org.au/actionweek.