Living in the past in the present for those living with dementia
One of the key services offered by the The Housing Industry Association (HIA) is a retro redecorating service for people living with dementia and is an idea that can be copied by anyone caring for someone who has dementia who is still living in their own home.
It originates from reminiscence therapies and councils and housing associations are beginning to use vintage furniture, old posters and objects in care homes and day care centres to re-assure residents, bring back positive memories and help them to remember every day tasks.
Another approach some housing providers offer is ‘dementia proofing’.
Living with dementia makes you far more sensitive to your environment – bright lighting may cause visual distortion , difficulty with judging depths making climbing the stairs much harder.
Forgetting day-to-day tasks such as turning off taps or where clothes are stored can also present difficulties.
Minor practical adjustments as simple as see-through drawers, lower level lighting, suitable positioning of mirrors and highly visible tape on staircases are all low cost but may have a significant impact on an individual’s life, boosting their independence and self esteem.
Retro decoration for those living with dementia has been shown to bring people out of a state of withdrawal – something commonly experienced by people with dementia.
The calming effect of items from the past is seen to reduce the need for anti-psychotic drugs which can only be positive and helping people to remain independent in their own home , preventing the need for medication and the need to be admitted to hospital. This then has a positive impact on NHS budgets by saving money and resources so that further funding can be spent on emergency services.
Up to a quarter of hospital beds are occupied by people with dementia and reducing the number of beds by 10% could save £1 billion.
Housing Industry Associations have received a positive response from patients, family members and friends, showing that their efforts have had an impact.