Age makes us more vulnerable to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, vascular dementia, strokes, and other medical condition(s) known to cause permanent and mostly irreversible brain damage. Although we do not have a cure for such diseases yet, the physical and mental decline can be managed and slowed down to at least some extent with proper dementia care. Alongside physical exercise, mental exercise, therapy, medicine, and other measures that are considered essential, adequate interior décor is also a crucial part of dementia care. A closer look at it reveals the connection.
Health and Safety
Seniors in general are susceptible to accidents inside their own home, but that susceptibility increases dangerously for an elder with compromised cognitive functions. The chances of those accidents and their severity can be brought down significantly with intelligent interior design.
For example, if we look at the Monarch New Rochelle Assisted Living Community’s interior design, we see a highly functional, minimalistic, and protective décor. Thanks to ample lighting, protective padding, contrasting colors, ergonomic furniture, rounded edges, assistive markers, and much more, everything in there is designed with aesthetics, health, and safety of the residents in mind.
Alleviating Anxiety and Fear
Studies have shown that seniors with dementia will often become extremely and morbidly afraid of the dark. In some patients the sundowning effect can take an even more serious turn, where they will continue to experience anxiety, confusion, agitation, fear, and other symptoms from dawn till dusk.
It may or may not have something to do with our circadian rhythm, but that’s just an unestablished theory. Whatever the reason(s) might be, there is a management method that works incredibly well, when executed properly. The interior design of one’s living space can be modified to soothe their troubled mind against the effects of sundown syndrome. The following examples should help with understanding the basics:
- Large windows allow plenty of sunlight to get in, helping the senior feel safer and happier
- Once the sun starts to set, thick curtains can be drawn to keep the elder’s mind off the approaching nighttime
- Bright ambient lighting from multiple sources is known to work best for people with sundowning
- A minimalistic décor is easy to light up brightly, without creating too many shadows
Even elders who do not suffer from sundowning are highly vulnerable to mental and neurological health issues such as anxiety, depression, delusion, hallucination, and amnesia among others. It has been found that spacious, uncluttered, well-lit, and airy living arrangements can improve the elder’s mood quite significantly.
It helps immensely if the views offered by the large windows are also pleasant, or at least interesting. Studies show that views that onlook nature works exceptionally well in dementia care. Even a well maintained garden with lots of color and a birdbath and bird table can do wonders in urban locations.
In conclusion, it can be stated with confidence that, yes, there is most certainly a connection between interior décor and dementia care. For more reasons than one, their surroundings actually affect seniors far more intimately than they affect the younger generations.