Here are some key features to look for when choosing furniture for dementia residents:
Choose furniture that maximises safety
A resident’s safety is always paramount, but this is even more important when it comes to caring for residents with dementia who can be prone to fall or fall related injuries.
Residents can hurt themselves on sharp corners so look for furniture that has smooth, rounded edges. Rounded corners can also be used as mobilisation aids, helping those who have difficulty orientating themselves.
Choose adjustable shelving in wardrobes so they can be easily configured for a resident. Keep the height range between 1m and 1.7m to reduce the need for the resident to bend down or reach up which can make them off balance and lead to a fall.
Furniture that aids decision making
The more independent the dementia resident is then the less strain it creates on carers. Look for solutions that creates less clutter and limits confusion. Combined with clear panels and safety glass, the use of lighting in wardrobes is also encouraged as it creates added visibility for the resident, while lockable doors on a side of a wardrobe encourages less clutter. Minimise clothing options that a resident can see in a wardrobe. This makes it easier for them to see what to wear.
The importance of colour and light
Residents with dementia can have difficulty distinguishing between tones, shapes and patterns. However colour can be used as a positive, assisting residents with wayfinding. Two tone furniture with a darker outside colour can help residents identify where the edges are on beds and cabinets. Combined with clear panels and safety glass, the use of skylights at the top of wardrobes is also encouraged as creates added visibility for the resident.
Consider equipment that promotes safe moving and handling
Overhead lifting solutions are the most effective and safe way to lift and move an individual. Mounting all the lifting equipment at ceiling height frees up floor space and makes it much easier to get around for both the resident and the carer. For those dementia patients who are prone to agitation, overhead lifting means their transfers are constructed in a safe and dignified manner and with less physical strain on the carer.