Making individual rooms more dementia friendly – whether they are in a care home or nursing home environment as well as in peoples own homes, can make a really big difference to dementia sufferers. Below is an example of a dementia suffers dining room and the key points in making it more user friendly;
- To create a more domestic feeling to the room provide coving to the ceiling.
- Ensure any floor material changes have transition stripes that match the floor colour. Different floor materials should have matching LRV’s (light reflectance values) or colours.
- As a guide, colours of floor surfaces, walls, doors, skirtings, architraves and ceiling should be 30 LRV (light reflectance value) apart as this provides good visual contrast that helps with way-finding. Furthermore, try to avoid large patterned carpets and wallpapers.
- Ensure curtains and tracts extend further than the window reveal so that the curtains do not obstruct any light. Avoid large patterned curtain fabrics.
- Provide a flexible, removable screen that can easily be used to allow people to eat discreetly maintaining a residents’ dignity with extra privacy.
- Provide large window areas with high heads and low sills in order to maximise daylight and minimise the dependency on artificial light.
- Windows with low sills greatly improves the view to external spaces. Make sure these windows are not obstructed externally by large bushes etc.
- Provide sturdy tables that will support residents leaning on them. Tables need to be high enough to clear chair arms and have rounded corners to reduce injury from collision. Round tables offer more seating flexibility, however square tables can be put together more easily for bigger group functions.
- Handles should be easy to grip and contrasting to external door. Mount door handles at around 1m high.
- Use specific door colours when several rooms open into the same external space, this will help residents with way-finding. And, contrast the door colours with surrounding window frame colours as this will assist residents in locating the door within the glazing.
- Arrange tables in a way that encourage staff and resident interaction; preferably with extra chairs to enable staff to eat at the same time as residents.
- Use blinds to protect residents against glare when necessary.
- Wall uplighters improve the look and feel of the room by illuminating the ceiling and providing reflective light throughout.
- Fixing chandelier style lights with multiple lamps will help to provide a uniform light level throughout the room. Ensure 300 lux is provided at task locations. Lights near windows should be controlled with daylight sensors – turning off when surplus to requirements.
- Attach labels to cupboards and drawers which are for residents use. This may assist residents to locate correct items. In this instance it also encourages ordinary activities of daily living.
- Provide chairs with seats that contrast clearly to the floor colour; with arms to aid mobility; that are easy to move over floor finish (sliders/skis below the legs help on carpet).
- For the room to feel homely furniture should be traditional and domestic in scale with easy to grip, well contrasting handles.
- Additional plug in table and / or floor lights provide increased lighting for specific tasks. Care should be taken to ensure there are no trailing leads.
- Choose age appropriate pictures for a more homely feel and pictures that reflect the local area to provide memory stimulation. Pictures should be displayed behind non-reflective anti-glare acrylic glazing. Position pictures so that the base of the frame is 1.2m above the finished floor level.
- Position a toilet as close to the dining room as possible. Ensure the WC is clearly signed with the bottom of the sign 1.2m above FFL. The toilet must comply with any relevant legislation. Negative pressure and careful ventilation will help keep bad smalls away from the eating area.
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LRV = “Light Reflectance Value” – a measure of the percentage and useable light reflected from a surface when illuminated by a light source.
FFL = “Finished Floor Level”
LUX = The unit of illuminance and luminous emittance – the measurement of luminous flux per unit area.