Home adaptations for people with dementia

A kitchen in the middle of renovations. Home adaptations for people with dementia.Most people with dementia live in their own homes within the community. A group of researchers in the UK wanted to find out the role of home adaptations in supporting people with dementia. They wanted to know what works, what doesn’t, and what more needs to be done. There were four key questions in their literature review:

    1. Which housing adaptations are being implemented and used by people with dementia and their carers on an everyday basis?
    2. How are decisions made to implement and use housing adaptations, or otherwise?
    3. What are the barriers and enablers to housing adaptation and use?
    4. What is the impact of housing adaptations on everyday life?

Results of the review

The review found that the most common adaptations were about physical limitations. The emphasis was on preventing falls. Clinical trials found that home adaptations have the potential to minimise falls. Safety relies on predictability of the environment for people with dementia. Nevertheless, this is the one area that is most lacking for people living in the community. 

Professionals and family members were good at coming up with ideas for adaptations. The study also found that carers were often inventive with novel solutions. However, some carers preferred their own trial and error methods when they thought professionals would not be helpful. A key issue here is that most useful information for families is online and not everyone has the ability to access this information.

“I’ll wait until the time comes” was evident in some of the literature. Some families were in favour of adaptations prior to need, whereas others wanted to wait until it was necessary. The type of housing also had an impact on this aspect.

Carers felt the adaptations made their caring tasks easier. They spent less time supervising and resulted in less burden and more sleep. The health and wellbeing of carers was the main gap in the literature. 

There’s a lot more information in this scoping review. The title is, Exploring the contribution of housing adaptations in supporting everyday life for people with dementia: a scoping review.

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