Does your home need to be more dementia-friendly? Here’s a few simple ways to make sure the person you care about stays safe and comfortable this Christmas, whether they’re in your home or their own.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make your home more suitable for someone with dementia. With a bit of thought and forward planning, you can improve their safety and reduce your stress this festive season. Here’s how

1. Clear up your clutter

The area of the brain that controls coordination and balance can be affected by dementia, which is why mobility can become an issue. But you can reduce their risk of trips and falls by removing any unnecessary obstacles (including children’s toys, shoes or piles of clothes and books) and creating clear pathways so that the person you care about can move easily around the house. You might also consider rolling up rugs and moving coffee tables from the centre of the floor.

2. Let there be light

Dementia can cause visuospatial difficulties. Installing brighter lightbulbs around the home is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to make life easier for people living with dementia and to improve home safety, particularly during the dark days of winter.

3. Little things mean a lot

Don’t underestimate the power of a few small tweaks. For example, installing a grab rail, a smoke alarm and a night light could make a world of difference, especially if the person you care about likes to potter around the kitchen or is staying overnight.

4. Feel at home

Getting used to a new environment isn’t easy when you have dementia. Activities that you take for granted – such as switching on the TV – can be impossible. So make sure someone is on hand to help them operate every day equipment. Remember, many people living with dementia fear becoming ‘a burden’ on their family and friends so keep telling them how welcome they are and help them to feel at home.

Tip: If your TV has them stumped, why not invest in a Simple Remote Control which they can use whenever they come to stay, or even take home with them.

5. Make it easy on yourself

Are you concerned about practical issues such as eating and drinking or incontinence? Do they already have waterproof bedding, or special cups or plates? If they could be brought to your house it could save you a lot of money and stress. Try to sort out practical issues like this as soon as you can, rather than burying your head in the sand.

What if YOU are visiting them?

People with dementia often feel safer, happier and calmer in a familiar environment. All things considered, it might be easier for you to visit them at Christmas, especially if they live a fair distance away. This will also give you a good opportunity to observe how the person you’re caring about is managing generally. Remember, dementia is a progressive condition so coping strategies that worked well even a couple of months ago, might no longer be effective.

Are they sitting comfortably?

Getting up out of a chair can become a lot trickier for people with dementia, particularly if they have other health conditions too such as stiff joints or arthritis. If the person you love seems to be struggling more to get out of their favourite armchair or sofa, it can have a significant impact on their quality of life. For example, it can mean they put off going to the toilet, or to the kitchen to make a drink or meal.

What you can do

• Make sure walking frames and sticks are always within easy reach when they’re sitting down.

• Consider buying a set of chair raisers. If their favourite chair is supportive enough but just too low down, a set of risers which can increase the chair’s height by several inches, might be all you need.

• Invest in a rise recliner chair. Recliner chairs are designed to provide maximum support and comfort, and allow the person using it to stay rested, relaxed and in control. They are usually simple to operate – just press a button to change the position. Reclines are definitely an investment buy –It’s worth considering if the person you care about has a lot of trouble getting out of their usual armchair, or doesn’t seem able to get comfortable. Perhaps the whole family could club together to buy one? For more information about recliners go here.