If an older adult in your life has Alzheimer’s disease, you may have already noticed how their environment impacts their behavior. Too much noise and confusion can increase agitation. By contrast, an orderly, peaceful environment may help the senior feel more relaxed.
Making a few small adjustments to their environment may result in a better quality of life for an adult with Alzheimer’s disease.
Creating a Positive Environment for an Adult with Alzheimer’s
Here are some suggestions:
Stick with the familiar: Change can be difficult for an adult with Alzheimer’s. Whether it is a change in routine or the person’s environment, the result can be increased stress and agitation.
Familiar surroundings are reassuring to people with memory loss. Try to avoid making changes to rooms the senior spends most of their time in. It might also help to surround them with favorite family photos and cherished mementoes from their past.
Utilize adaptive devices: It is fairly common for an older adult who has Alzheimer’s to have difficulty staying oriented to day and time. They might also struggle with tasks that require multiple steps to complete.
There are a variety of technologies and adaptive devices to address these challenges. Investing in a clock with an LCD screen and a digital display that includes date and time is one option. Some even show the weather. You can also find telephones that incorporate family photos next to a call button and television remotes with fewer buttons. Electronic pill dispensers that sound an alarm and open at dosage time are also helpful.
Be mindful of safety: Alzheimer’s disease causes physical changes that may impact the senior’s ability to navigate their home safely. A shuffled gait and a loss of peripheral vision are just a few.
Conduct a safety assessment of the older adult’s home to identify potential risks. Throw rugs, torn carpeting, uneven stair treads, and cluttered pathways are just a few.
Engaging Environments for People with Alzheimer’s
Other steps you can take to create a positive, engaging environment are:
- Music: The healing properties of music can help to boost mood and calm the spirit. Whether it is nature sounds, like rain or birds, or songs from the senior’s youth, incorporating music into daily life has benefits.
- Pets: Animals can also create a more positive environment for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. The physical act of petting a dog or cat has been shown to lower blood pressure and stress. Aviaries and aquariums are another way to help provide feelings of calm when an adult has Alzheimer’s.
- Nature: Caring for plants and flowers can also provide peace and contentment. You can give your loved one indoor plants to nurture during cold winter months and raised beds and container gardens for summer.
- Art: The process of creating has many benefits. People living with Alzheimer’s may find art is therapeutic. It provides them with an opportunity to express themselves once verbal skills decline.
If you can create a positive environment where your family member feels calm and in control, they are more likely to feel successful and independent despite their disease.
You can learn more about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, including how to address safety and security needs, in our memory care video series. We also invite you to call us at 888-434-4648 with any questions you have about dementia care and senior living.