Finding things in the home

Danny is a masters architecture student, currently studying how architecture can help in leading a fulfilling life for people living with dementia and carers

Today’s theme was on finding things in the house. The tips today come mainly from a video from Wendy Mitchell, an inspirational person, who when diagnosed with early onset dementia, became an author and dementia ambassador, sharing her experience with others.

I’ll have summarised, as best I can, what she discusses in the video, but please watch it if you have a moment as she says it much better:

When having trouble with finding things around the house, there are some steps you can take:

  1. If struggling to remember what room is behind certain doors
  • Remove the door completely so you can always see what is on the other side.
  • Keep the door open with a door stopper.

2. If you can’t do this because the room needs privacy

  • Add a simple label, such as painting a large letter in a contrasting colour on the door to remind you of what is behind it eg. T for toilet.
  • Use picture labels, which can be bought on the Alzheimer’s society website here
  • As the labels can sometimes be quite expensive, you could get creative and make your own! Make sure any labels or images stand out with a contrasting colour to the door so it can be seen easily, and test how effective they are.

3. If struggling to remember what is in cupboards, or where the cupboards are:

  • Take a photo of the internal contents of the cupboard eg. Clothes hung up in your clothes cupboard, and stick this to the front of the cupboard door so you can always see what is inside.
  • You may have a printer. If you don’t, it may be difficult to access a photo printing shop, due to the current lockdown. If you have access to a smart phone or digital camera and want to try this out, you could use an online delivery service – such as Boots here.

4. If you sometimes can’t find objects because they blend into their surroundings

  • If you struggle with vision, certain things can blend into their surroundings if they are the same colour as the background, for example, a white light switch on a white wall.
  • If you find you have this problem, a simple tip is to paint a border around the light switch in a contrasting colour to the wall and switch to highlight where it is.
  • The same idea can also be applied to other objects, for example, if you have a black remote control and a black sofa, you could stick insulating tape of a contrasting colour around the edge of the remote so it does not go missing on the sofa.

5. If you have difficulty remembering the controls of certain appliances

  • Indicate on the appliance what the control does. For example, on a shower, with one tap for hot and cold control and one tap for the pressure, you could add a red and blue sticker to the hot and cold control and a plus and minus sticker for the pressure.

6. If you struggle to remember your house from the outside

  • Sometimes living in a row of terraces or identical houses can make it hard to remember which house is your own as they all look the same.
  • Adding a simple decoration or ornament outside of your house which is personal to you can help you identify your home.