Many people living with dementia face the move to a care home facility at some point during their journey. Full time care in the form of a residential or a nursing home is usually required when an individual needs 24 hour care or when they can no longer live at home.
It’s imperative to choose the right care home for your loved one, where they will feel comfortable, happy and not alone.
One of the biggest difficulties that people with dementia may face is day shifting to night.
Sleep patterns can be disrupted and wandering can of course lead to dangerous falls if a person does get up at night and wander without assisted light. We touched on this subject in our post: Nightlights & Dementia a conundrum since it is suggested that to get the best night’s sleep it is advised we sleep in total darkness. More about sleeping issues in our post, Sleeping Problems & Dementia.
It is of course important to have safety lighting, should a person wake, while maintaining darkness to aid sleep.
Another cause of sleep loss for people living with dementia, is not feeling comfortable in their surroundings. If where they are really doesn’t feel like home and resembles more of a facility, an individual may ask ‘Can I go home’ frequently. There are often attempts in this environment of people trying to return to their old life and their own home.
Jean Makesh, CEO of: Lantern Assisted Living Facilities says: “What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building? What if I’m able to have the moon and stars come out? What if I build a unit that takes residents back to the ’30s and ’40s?.”
The idea was sheer brilliance. Makesh created a care home in the USA that looks like the real world outside but inside. As real as the real world could feel, in an indoor space. The aim: to reduce the feeling of wanting to ‘go outside’ for patients.
The idea certainly adds to giving those with dementia a feeling of freedom, a feeling of independence and thus their own identity. As well as this, indoor spaces were made to look like outdoor spaces. The front of buildings looked like the outdoors of a building with front doors and exterior looking frontages. Going back to your room therefore means returning ‘home’. A feeling not easily created within a facility.
Another great triumph for care and perhaps one of the best facilities in the world is the neighborhood “Hogeweyk”. You may have seen this in our earlier post: Dementia Village
The neighborhood was purpose built for people with dementia in the Netherlands.
Hogeweyk boasts a barbershop, supermarket, garden and has an enormous sense of space and freedom about it. Hogeweyk allows people living with dementia to go outside for a walk, meet other people and have a ‘normal’ social life. All of this is achieved by having large courtyard and gardens within the walls of the residential home. Doors open automatically and people move freely within the space. The inclusion of instruments in the form of a piano, creates relaxing ambiance when played to the residents. (Music is essential for the brain and hugely beneficial to those living with dementia, as discussed here.
“The idea, explains Hogeweyk’s creators, is to design a world that maintains as much a resemblance to normal life as possible—without endangering the patients.”
Sunrise Living, a U.S company (which also operates within the UK) offer a similar, if not paired down version of Hogeweyk with front doors to resident’s rooms, free access to the grounds and gardens and a baby grand piano in the hallway.
Creating ambiance in any environment is a vital need to any user of a space. We hope to create a relaxing and soothing environment at the Dementia Cafe and we’ll be enlisting experts to ensure we can achieve this for our customers.