An important way to help residents with dementia, even at its early stage, is to combine the right pictures with the furniture installed in a care home.
It is important to see that pictures selected and placed correctly in a care home can not only improve the lives of the residents, but can also make the working lives of the staff much easier. As an example, if areas of corridors are themed to separate them from other parts of the home, residents can use the artwork as a kind of road map to find their way around the home. So, whether they are trying to find their way from a day room to their room, or a friend’s, or to the dining room, strategically placed pictures will help and take pressure from care staff who don’t have to guide residents around. Even using different framing on each floor can help with this.
At the same time, installing pictures relevant to a particular part of the home can help with keeping residents with dementia interested in their surroundings. So, in a corridor leading to a cinema room a series of film posters are a great idea, to give the residents further assistance in finding what they want, but also to give them ideas to remind them where they are going before entering the cinema room; alternatively some larger sized photographic figures of distinctive older cinema characters give residents something to react to – Charlie Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy work very well as their particular “look” stands out so much. A series of photographs of food, mixed with older food advertisements works very well both in a dining room and on the area outside.
Sitting rooms and quiet areas need to pair the artwork with the furniture colourings and to use more decorative artwork to not overly stimulate residents who are often having a restful period.
Using a company who specialise in supplying and installing pictures for care homes is always a good idea, as they should do a little work before choosing the right artwork for the home. A little research into the area where the home is situated will make a huge difference – what has gone on in terms of industry in the past as an example. Research into the type of residents that you have or their origins can make a huge difference to the later running of the home. For instance, if many of the residents have previously come from the Caribbean, it is a great idea to include a section of corridor with lots of bright, happy photographs of the West Indies, whether beaches or the narrow streets of Kingston, Jamaica or other islands in the sun. The Dining Area can even get pictures of curried goat and yams to suit the West Indian home diet! If your home is in an area that means that many of your residents come from the sub-continent, then similarly happy photos of the relevant part of India can be a great way of stimulating memories. The habit of sitting multiple riders on motor scooters, the large numbers of Hindustan Ambassador taxis found in India and of course street scenes, again stimulate memories and make your residents feel at home.
The enormous range of period photographs that a professional company specialising in this work should hold will make providing memories very simple.
Finally the use of larger artwork put onto the wall as murals can also work well, plus something more tactile like a reproduction shop where residents can see and feel produce, whether made in plastic or the real thing, is another way of helping your residents deal with the difficulties brought on by the onset of dementia.