Monday 6 May 2013

Retro designs to help people living with dementia

Research has shown that people living with dementia often benefit from seeing items and objects from their past, helping to trigger memories, both about a time they can remember, and of objects they know how to use.

Retro Telephones

Consider using a retro telephone in place of a modern cordless phone. There are a number available, ideally choose one with an old fashioned rotary dial, and real bell ringer. The telephone illustrated above, is a modern reproduction, and works on modern telephone networks, it has a rotary dial, and bell ringer, but also more modern features. The telephone can be "hands free", by pushing a button that is in fact the centre of the dial. It is also capable of last number redial using the finger stop, and has two extra holes in the dial for the hash and star keys.

Retro posters

Use retro posters from a person's past, to trigger memories. Use them in appropriate places, the two above can be placed in the kitchen, and laundry room.

Retro style radios

If the individual likes to listen to music, use either an old radio, or a retro-styled new radio. If they have a collection of CDs, or old vinyl records, why not use a retro-styled, Record/CD Player with Radio?


Think about using old fashioned soaps such as Pears, the scent can also trigger memories, and help remind people to wash.

As mentioned in another post, use toilets seats that contrast with the toilet bowl, either black plastic or a wooden seat. Textures, shapes and colours they remember and recognise. These can also help reduce continence problems.

Retro decorating

Decorate the person's room in a slightly older style, this can make the surroundings feel safer, and more familiar. Furnish it with familiar pieces of older style furniture, preferrably their own. Have photos from their past, either on the wall, or placed on a shelf or piece of furniture, where they can see them.

You may find, that even if they have used a duvet in the past, they might now feel more comfortable with blankets and sheets, just as they did when they were younger. Look to see if they still have an old bedspread or quilt, use these to help promote a feeling of comfort security.

These are just a few ideas, to help someone living with dementia feel less agitated, using items and objects that are familiar, and easy to use.

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