By: Lisa Garrett, OTD, OTR/L
Spring cleaning can be a daunting task – but what if it could actually make your life at home easier? Clutter in the house is not good for anyone, but it is especially overwhelming for people with dementia. For a dementia-friendly spring cleaning, follow the tips below.
- Simplify choices in the closet.
People with dementia are overwhelmed by choices. It takes a lot of brain power to make a decision so the fewer decisions that need to be made, the better. Start with five outfits in the closet at a time. Try organizing the closet in different ways to see what works best for your loved one. Organize by type of clothing or hang a complete outfit on one hanger like the picture below. This limits the need to choose what shirt goes with what pants. You could even label the hangers with the days of the week.
image from http://www.brit.co/hanger-closet-hacks/
- Reduce clutter on countertops.
Reduce visual clutter on countertops so that essential items can be easily identified. When a bathroom sink is crowded with items, it is difficult for a person with dementia to find what he or she needs. Since dementia also impairs our judgement, your loved one might confuse rubbing alcohol for mouthwash, or a makeup tube for toothpaste. To prevent this and to increase your loved one’s independence, only place essential items (toothbrush, toothpaste, hand soap) out in the open. You might even want to label each item.
- Safely store cleaning supplies and medications.
You might be storing your cleaning supplies under the sink, and your pill bottles on the bathroom or kitchen counter. When living with someone who has dementia, it is best to store all harsh chemicals and medications in a place that only you can access. Try invisible, magnetic locks like the ones shown below.