October 11, 2021
How to Make a Memory Care Room Feel Like Home
When a parent or aging loved one moves into a retirement community, you may have a hand in making sure they feel right at home. Whether you have an eye for interior decorating or just a desire to make your loved one more comfortable, adding personal touches can make an unfamiliar place more welcoming.
While some of the décor may be purely aesthetic, other decorative elements may be more functional. This is especially true if you’re decorating for a loved one who has dementia or memory loss. These memory care decorating ideas include some simple but effective suggestions that show you how to decorate a memory care room and create a more familiar environment for your loved one.
It’s worth noting that while they may make a big impact, each of these ideas requires little skill and minimal investment.
An Inviting Entry
If the doorway is unfamiliar, it may be unsettling for your loved one to think of their new memory care apartment as home. More meaningful than numbers or words, a memory box filled with items that hold fond memories for your loved one is a dementia-friendly design idea that can help signal that this is a safe and happy place. You might include photographs of loved ones, silk or dried flowers in a favorite color, or a memento representing a favorite pastime, like a baseball card from a beloved team.
Placing items that hold special meaning throughout the apartment is another memory care decorating idea that will help keep your loved one connected to their past and make the transition to their new home smoother. As your loved one progresses through the stages of dementia, it may be increasingly important to protect breakable sentimental items by placing them on raised shelving or in shadow boxes, where they can be admired from afar. Items your loved one is likely to enjoy handling, like newspapers, family photos or albums, and treasured letters, should be in easier reach.
As language and communication become more challenging, people with dementia often rely on gestures, images, and objects to express meaning and interpret their surroundings. With this in mind, you can use art as a natural way to add beauty while providing cues for your loved one. An example of an artistic memory care decorating idea is using sculptures or wall art that signal what happens in each room, allowing your loved one to form connections about where they are and what kinds of activities are common in that place.
Light and Bright
For a person with dementia, bright and airy rooms with as much natural light as possible help keep the brain balanced. This means avoiding dark corners that may be perceived as threatening and maintaining a steady flow of light throughout the apartment. Instead of relying on industrial lighting, another memory care decorating idea is to add task lights, table lamps, floor lamps, and other fixtures (with easy on and off switches) that produce plenty of dementia-friendly light to keep the space warm and homey. Erratic sleep is another aspect of dementia care; if your loved one struggles with sleep, you might consider smart lights that can be programmed to help achieve a more natural circadian rhythm.
As memories fade, people with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the pleasures that once filled their spare time, like books or favorite TV programs. An activity area is a functional memory care decorating idea that can be equal parts practical and visually appealing. You might include favorite games, craft supplies, or even create a simulated childcare station where your loved one can take care of a lifelike doll. Use stylish storage containers, comfortable seating, and a color-coordinated work surface to create an attractive space where your loved one can comfortably pass some downtime.
A Friendly Place to Call Home
If you’re looking for an inviting memory care community for your loved one, we invite you to visit us at Springpoint Living at Manalapan, where we offer a safe, supportive, and secure environment for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Our homelike setting offers maximum comfort so your loved one can thrive. Schedule a tour to learn more about our person-centered approach to memory care.