"Ultimately, we want to help people stay independent for as long as possible, and these simple changes can make a big difference."
Agincare, a family-owned care provider with locations across England, has released practical home improvement advice to help families adapt an older relative’s home or care home room into a space where they can live comfortably and safely.
The advice contains just under a dozen home improvement and interior design tips that can help older people living with dementia, visual impairment, Alzheimer’s, hearing impairment, and mobility.
Adam Luckhurst, Director at Agincare, said: “We’ve set out our recommendations covering rooms for people living with dementia, visual impairment, hearing impairment, Alzheimer’s and frailty. And our 3D floorplans really bring the ideal layout in a care home room or an entire house to life.
“Ultimately, we want to help people stay independent for as long as possible, and these simple changes can make a big difference. Whether your family member wants to stay in their own home or is living in a care home, there are simple and effective changes you can make to help improve their quality of life.”
Agincare’s top tips for making homes and care home rooms safer and more comfortable are:
1) Replace wall art with family photographs in wooden frames.
"Photographs can provide important visual reminders to family members with dementia. But be careful about using mirrored frames as they can trigger confusion. Agincare’s experts suggest using wooden frames instead."
2) Make sure rooms are brightly lit with natural light.
"Plenty of natural light can not only help with sight, including spotting any trip hazards for older people unsteady on their feet, it is also proven to reduce psychoactive symptoms, which are common side effects of neurodegenerative diseases."
3) Remove rugs and frayed carpets.
"Family members of older people with limited mobility may be conscious about electrical leads and slippery surfaces causing a trip hazard. However, one of the most common reasons for falls in the home is rugs and frayed carpets. These should be removed from living rooms and kitchens to create a safer space."
4) Have open shelving instead of cupboards.
"Cupboards can be stressful for older people with dementia. It can be difficult for them to remember which contents are behind which doors, for instance. Installing open shelving can help by putting everything on display."
5) Install a banister rail on both sides of the staircase.
"A single banister on one side of the staircase is not enough to minimise the risk of falling. Instead, they suggest having two banisters - one on each side - to give support going up and down the stairs."
6) Choose furniture that contrasts with walls to help visibility.
"The trendy minimalist colour schemes of contemporary homes may not be practical for an older family member with a visual impairment. If furniture is the same shade of colour as the decor, it can present a trip and injury risk. Embrace a colour clash and bring more contrasts into the home."
7) Hang thick curtains for improved sound insulation.
"Good acoustics are essential for older people with hearing difficulties. Street noise can make hearing conversations, listening to music or enjoying what’s on the television tricky. Thick curtains provide good sound insulation."
8) Decorate with a variety of textures to help with sensory needs.
"When you begin to lose your sight, you start relying more on your sense of touch. Agincare recommends using a variety of textures in decorating the home of someone with a visual impairment to help them find their way around."
Agincare’s experts have created a series of 3D room layouts to illustrate their top tips. The free room layouts from homes are available on the Agincare website here.