Design is playing an increasingly active role in the medical field as studies reveal more findings linking atmosphere to the well being of patients. Stale, all-white design schemes in hospitals, long term care homes and other medical facilities are being replaced by schemes of calming colors and elements designed to accommodate an improved mental state for patients.
The focus of the physical and aesthetic design of medical facilities is shifting to establishing an environment conducive to the comfort of patients, and the design of Alzheimer's special care facilities is no exception. Alzheimer's care homes and other facilities providing care to Alzheimer's patients must take the special needs and security of Alzheimer's patients into consideration in their designs.
Many Alzheimer's patients live in the home of a family member or other loved one who ensures that the patient's daily needs are met. If you are the caregiver for an Alzheimer's patient who is living in your home, the patient and other members of your household can benefit from instituting in your home some of the techniques used in professional Alzheimer's care facilities.
One way to help the patient establish a sense of security and reduce confusion is by implementing visual cues or reminders throughout your home. Some Alzheimer's care homes set up enclosed display cases containing personal mementos at the entrance of each patient's room, which assists patients in locating their respective rooms, eliminates confusion a patient may feel upon encountering a hallway lined with identical doors, and can trigger memories that contribute to the patient's sense of home. You may institute a similar practice in your home by displaying something personal to the patient at the door of his or her bedroom. This may be a display case as described, or another cue such as a familiar piece of artwork or photograph. Other visual cues that you may display throughout your home are clocks which include the date and time and images or labels to remind the patient of certain tasks. For instance, you may hang a picture depicting people eating or of food in the kitchen, or attach a label to the front door reminding the patient to lock doors.
Colors and patterns are also used strategically in Alzheimer's care facilities to promote a sense of calmness. While a number of color schemes can be appropriate, it is widely believed that pastel colors are preferred over bright, vibrant ones to create an appropriate environment for Alzheimer's patients. Likewise, subdued patterns are preferred over busy ones with an abundance of contrasting colors. Varying wall colors in different rooms can serve as a visual reminder to the patient of which activities happen in which rooms.
Some Alzheimer's care facilities provide a box of appealing items to satisfy patients' desire to rummage through, look at and touch items of interest. Such a box may contain items such as photo albums, toys, newspaper and mementos belonging to the patient. Giving the patient a fulfilling outlet to explore can be stimulating and prevent him or her from exploring other areas of your home. Establishing a safe environment for the live-in patient in your home is an important part of being a caregiver. It is best for wall hangings and items situated on table tops to be affixed securely where feasible.
While the characteristics of a pleasant environment are in large part a matter of personal preference, establishing surroundings that take your loved one's condition into consideration can have a positive impact on the patient as well as the other members of a household.