Dementia-Friendly Home App for Carers

Extract from article by Fiona Rutherford, BuzzFeed News Reporter

Alzheimer’s Australia have launch a Dementia-Friendly Home app that allows carers to travel around a virtual house exploring difference ways each room can be made more accessible for people living with Dementia.

There are around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, according to the latest Alzheimer’s Society estimates.

The report also suggests that a third of people over the age of 65 will go on to develop dementia. And two thirds of people who develop the disorder are women.

The Dementia-Friendly Home app suggests a variety of small, inexpensive changes that could help people living with dementia maintain their independence, build their self-esteem, and stay in their own house as opposed to going into a care home.

For example, patterned carpets, wallpapers, and bed covers can be distressing and confusing for some people with dementia, so plain decor is recommended.

It happens because “there is a breakdown between the information that is coming from the eyes and then into the brain”, Chris Russell, a course leader for a foundation degree in dementia studies at the University of Worcester told BuzzFeed News.
In other words, their eyesight is fine, but the way the person’s brain is processing what is being seen has changed, which could cause distress. “For example, for some people a dark mat on a white floor might be interpreted as a hole in the ground,” Russell added.

The app suggests making sure toilet seats are a contrasting colour to the rest of the other bathroom surfaces, as in some cases those living with dementia struggle to recognise objects such as toilet seats.

Russell said that contrasting colours can be useful, especially for people who have difficulty with sensory processes, one of the many symptoms of the disorder.

“For example, at mealtimes having plates that are a different colour to the tablecloth can be helpful,” he said. “This is because some people will not be making as much sense of what they’re seeing as they would’ve done in the past. It’s enabling people to have as much clarity as possible in terms of their vision.”

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