A good bathroom layout and the right aids can help to maintain independence longer for a person with dementia.
There are some very practical considerations when someone with dementia is using the bathroom. Below are some helpful tips that can make finding and using the bathroom easier for a person with dementia.
If all the doors look the same finding the right door to the bathroom can be difficult. Using a sticker to highlight the toilet door will make it easy for the person to find the right door.
Due to ageing and/or the progression of dementia, a person with dementia may find it more difficult to rise from low positions. By using a raised toilet seat you can increase the height of the toilet. Also by using a different coloured toilet seat, you can help them to distinguish it from its surroundings. Additional features such as soft close hinges will also prevent the seat from slamming shut and creating a startling, loud noise.
If a person with dementia requires extra stability when accessing the toilet and/or lowering themselves onto or off the toilet seat, there are many solutions that can help to reduce the risk of falls.
- Grab rails are a simple but effective solution for reducing falls in the bathroom. Satin-finished rails are recommended for use in wet environments due to their non-reflective surface.
Toilet frames are adjustable to fit around most toilet pans. They are light-weight and portable, and as they are free-standing, they can be easily removed when not in use.
Lighting that creates shadows can be distressing. Cleverly positioned lighting (positioned not to cause shadows) above the sink and toilet draws attention to these areas to help users find them easily. Use movement detectors mounted at the door to turn lights on automatically. And keep glare low. Think reflection and contrast
People with dementia may not recognise themselves. If a person with dementia catches sight of themselves they may get scared or upset thinking there is an intruder in the bathroom with them. This can cause anxiety and could be avoided by using a reversible mirror.
Above all safety.
The primary consideration when looking at adapting the bathroom environment for a person with dementia should be the safety for the individual. Things such as sharp edges and the use of reflective material, for example, glass or mirrors should be avoided. Hazards such as limited space and the potential for slipping on water and soap all increase the risk of injury and should all be taken into consideration.