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Extending the period of independence for residents suffering with dementia in a bedroom environment.

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As a leading supplier of furniture to the healthcare industry, we’ve seen a massive trend in requests for bedroom furniture 

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that meets the needs of resident’s suffering with the varying stages of dementia. One of the most important things to develop when designing a bedroom for a resident is an understanding that there is not a one size fits all approach but a series of incremental changes once the resident is in situ.

We believe firmly that a large element of the behaviour exhibited by resident’s suffering with dementia is both an inability to conceive or define how certain things work. It’s our opinion that this is closely linked with a reluctance to ask for help. With this in mind there are certain things you can do from the off that are designed to extend the period of independence the resident retains.

A great example of this is surrounding curtaining for a room. Select a colour fabric that encourages positive mental connections, perhaps in an appropriate pattern style, and add a leading edge to the interior of the curtain in a block, complementing colour. This is thought to enhance the resident’s ability to see where one piece of fabric ends, and another begins. This also encourages them to interact with the curtains, opening and closing them as anyone would.

Another method, specific to the bedroom furniture, is adding high contrasting handles to wardrobes, chests & bedsides. This offers again a definitive element for which to interact with as it would ideally stand out against the base material of the furniture. For example; wood styled furniture with metal contrasting handles. In some instances, furniture styles that allow to view inside the units, either by a viewing panel or scalloped handles can be useful. These items of furniture should ultimately contrast against the wall they’re placed against. For example; cream coloured furniture against a plain cream wall would not encourage their ability to see the furniture.

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Contrast is also a key word when referring to chairs and dementia. As the resident’s eyesight worsens it can become increasingly difficult to recognise shape. Adding contrast to chairs such as dual fabric colours or indeed contrast piping to really define the shape of the chair will ultimately enhance their ability to recognise its function.

It is our firm belief that the best solution for extending the period of independence for residents suffering with dementia in a bedroom environment is to create spaces that are light, highly visual, aesthetically pleasing and importantly catered to that particular resident.

Steve Nixon, Dayex.

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