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Aging-in-Place Design for the Mind: 4 Affordable Tips


5.3 Million is the number of Alzheimer’s sufferers in the U.S. 3.9 Million of them live at home.

Memory care costs as much as $10,000 a month. But, there are small changes you can make in your home for semi-independent living. People caring for someone with Alzheimers can make residences work better for the patients themselves while staying on budget.

1. Avoid reflective surfaces. “People with forms of dementia can misunderstand what they’re seeing in a mirror,” says Theresa Clement. “They might think it’s a long-lost loved one, or even an intruder, which can be scary.” Also, glossy countertops and other surfaces can cause light to bounce in way that may be disruptive.

2. Color selection. Choose colors from the middle of a paint strip. Pale tones can become indistinguishable and dark colors resemble shadows. Using different colors for each room will help differentiate and recall the space they’re in.

3. Stay away from patterns. Solid colors and flat fields are key in memory care design. “They might avoid sitting on a flower-patterned chair because the flowers seem real. Or they might interact with floor tiles as if they’re steps to be climbed,” says Clement.

4. Distribute light evenly. Even lighting will help with visual acuity and reduce shadows, as shadows can startle people suffering from dementia. Removing unnecessary objects that can cause shadows, like a coat rack, can also be helpful.



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