Monday, May 22, 2023

How The Pandemic Taught Us Dementia Residents Need Purpose


Often people talk about the more practical dementia friendly design features. However, at Renray Healthcare we believe it is not as easy to just focus on this, we want to dig further.

We genuinely strive to create a space that respects those who use it. After all, these are people who have lived a full and content life, this cannot be forgotten and residents should be treated with that same reverence.

The last few years with the Covid-19 Pandemic and current Cost of Living crisis has reinforced awareness in giving dementia residents a real purpose to get up in the morning. This goes beyond just furniture and nice spaces but promoting meaningful activities that interact with their living environment.

As a leading interior solutions company for care homes, we promote the need for interactive living spaces, much like a standard home. A care home should not be any less homely or nurturing. Gone are the days of very clinical and drab interiors.

All of our effort is focused into making it sensory and tactile, pick up and put down, thought provoking, and entertaining. When complete uncertainty overtakes a person at the sight of a lifelike mural displaying one of many realistic situations that you can't actually interact with, we have seen the utmost horror on their face. When you are already battling uncertainty, dread, frustration, and memory loss, how perplexing would that be to you?

This is why we focus on design that enhances a resident’s quality of life, allowing them to take back control of their interactions and giving them comfort in an environment meant to promote wellbeing and ease of use.

A person's quality of life should be enhanced and enabled through design, enabling them to exert control however they see fit. This is all about the details to us. For each person, we designate areas of interest. They are known as activity displays. This can be a bouquet or hat presentation. It stimulates sensory interactions to have the freedom to take something up like this, perhaps mooch along with it, or sit in a chair strategically positioned for object study.

Finding joy in the little things, like picking up a hat, can result in the discovery of a long-forgotten recollection of wearing one; this memory is genuine, it has significance, and more importantly, it doesn't cause confusion or distress—quite the opposite, in fact.

Top advice

Before starting to construct or renovate your care facility for dementia patients, keep the following in mind.

Normality is ideal.

Dementia patients desire to be in surroundings that are as normal to them as possible. They make an effort to recall that they lived in a familial environment and not a cold, institutional one.

Determine a room's function.

To reduce confusion, practical design is crucial. Clear cues that designate the space and its purpose, such as a fireplace in the living room and dining tables, cutlery, and crockery in the dining room, help prevent confusion and dread.

Fake items are not real. Why not create something that can be engaged with instead? A collection of hats, costume jewellery, books, or playing cards, keeping it real encourages interaction and prevents confusion. 

Remember; make no assumptions when designing for people living with dementia. Instead focus on making a comfortable and homely living environment.




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