We’ve got good news for those millions of people (roughly 5.3 million) suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. A recent article
at Networx provides insight into a number of home modifications that make living with Alzheimer’s more manageable.
is something most of us take for granted, but much of our daily actions involve this function; a function that people with Alzheimer’s notably lack. This lack makes many commonplace activities a serious challenge for those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to Rosemary Bakker, MS, a Research Associate in Gerontologic Design in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College
, being devoid of depth-perception is problematic for those with Alzheimer’s in that they “may not notice a glass door and try to walk right through it. If there’s a low cocktail table, particularly if it’s glass, they may not even see it and walk right into it. Climbing stairs can be a really big issue because if the riser and the tread are the same color, the person may not know how high to lift one’s feet, and therefore falls can occur and can be terrifying to try to walk the stairs.” Fortunately, home-changes can be made to help.
Where people with Alzheimer’s cannot distinguish between obstacles on the basis of different depths, Bakker recommends highlighting the change in platform in other ways. For example, contrasting colors can be used for the tread and riser of your stairs. This simple modification not only makes stair-climbing safe again for everyone, this previously boring event becomes pleasantly colorful.
In addition to helpful color contrasting schemes, proper lighting arrangements can make living with Alzheimer’s less difficult. Since glare and sharp changes in light levels are big problems for those living with Alzheimer’s, a home sensitive to these conditions will be furnished with consistent lighting levels and matte-finished furniture (especially large tables, which tend to be shiny). Bakker indentifies polished floors as particularly troublesome: first its shininess disorients those with Alzheimer’s, and coupled with its slipperiness, the polished floor poses a double-threat.
Another important, and relatively easy home modification concerns bathrooms. Bakker said, “Bathing is really a big issue. If you’re planning on renovating your house, or you’re planning on renovating a bathroom, why don’t you think about taking out a nearby closet and getting two or three feet of space from the adjacent room and put in a walk-in
, wheel-in shower. It will make a huge difference later on, and it’s also helpful for everyone.”
At Barrier Free, we’ve made possible numerous bathroom accessibility projects, and in addition to walk-in bathtubs, we’ve noticed that the presence of shower seats
is central to the accessible bathroom. While Bakker importantly points out the helpfulness of handrails for those with Alzheimer’s, we would add that the installation grab bars is perhaps the simplest high-benefit addition one can make to their home. Of particular benefit to people with Alzheimer’s our Design Line Grab Bars
come in a variety of vibrant colors, allowing for bold contrast against every wall in your (increasingly) accessible home.