8.1. The effects of dementia on person's everyday life

People with developing dementia sometimes might not notice that their abilities to judge situations are changing. In other times they might be aware of changes taking place, however, it can be hard to admit any problems as it is associated with loss of independence. Such basic thing as going where you want to go or taking the car to go to get your groceries are actually crucial for your self-consciousness and sense of freedom. Because of that you have to be careful and attentive when putting any limitations on the person living with dementia or changing the environment they are used to even if it is for their own safety. Your task is to make the person's everyday movement more comfortable and less confusing. With some preparation in adjusting the environment you will also ease your work and let the person be as independent as their current capacities allow.

Here we offer you a list of principles to follow when considering safe environment and movement:

1. Gradually restrict use of the car.
Because even mild cognitive impairment increases risk of accidents.

2. Remove throw rugs and other objects in person’s path.
Because it minimizes tripping and falling.

3. Minimize sensory stimulation.
Because it decreases sensory overload, which can increase anxiety and confusion.

4. If the person with dementia becomes verbally upset, listen briefly, give support, then change the topic.
Because the goal is to prevent escalation of anger. When attention span is short,  the person can be distracted to more productive topics and activities. 

5. Label all rooms and drawers. Label often-used objects (e.g., hairbrushes,  toothbrushes). 
Because that may keep patient from wandering into other patients’ rooms. Increases  environmental clues to familiar objects. 

6. Install safety bars in bathroom.
Because they prevent falls.

7. Supervise the person when he or she smokes.
Because danger of burns is always present.

Introduction Safe and Respectful Communication Safe Environment and Movement Wandering

Take the quiz Back to the unit