Creating a dementia friendly washroom away from home

Dementia is perhaps not a subject you would expect us to talk about as a hygiene dispenser manufacturer.  However, things that we take for granted in a washroom setting can become confusing and threatening to those with dementia.  Small adaptations in a washroom can make a hugely positive impact on people suffering with dementia.

Here we take a look at some of the steps that can be taken to help create a dementia-friendly washroom environment.

Firstly, let’s look at the potential issues.

Challenges of Washrooms for Dementia Users

Dementia unfortunately provides many symptoms, one of which can be the difficulty in performing familiar tasks such as hand washing.  The process of wetting hands, applying soap and washing, rinsing and drying may become a complex task with the person not knowing what order to follow.

Disorientation in a washroom can pose safety concerns and with so many obstacles in place due to the sanitary ware; and the potential for water on the floor and in shower areas so ensuring the safety of the person is important to try to prevent slips and trips resulting in a fall.

A natural effect of aging generally is the thickening of the lens of the eye, this results in colours looking ‘washed out’.  Couple that with a symptom of Dementia, the reduced ability to detect contrasts between colours and it can quickly become difficult to identify what is what in the washroom.

So what can we do?

Washroom Design Recommendations

Natural Lighting

It is recommended that natural lighting should be used as much as possible as this primarily helps to distinguish between night and day but clever lighting can also be used to avoid casting shadows and dark areas which can cause confusion when looking down at the floor inadvertently looking like an object or something to be stepped over.

As well as reducing the ability to detect colour contrast, the ability to see things in 3D is also affected, therefore it is recommended to use bright colours for furniture and furnishings to help everyone see them more clearly.

This is particularly relevant in a washroom setting, if you imagine a white bathroom suite set against white tiles with white towels and toilet paper the scene could be very confusing to someone with dementia.

Suitable Dementia Friendly Washroom Dispensers

This is where our washroom dispenser range designed specifically for washrooms used by dementia patients, whether a care home or centre for activities can help.  The range which includes a mirror, soap dispenser and paper towel dispenser is designed in contrasting colours to make them easily noticeable and stand out from the décor.  Our visual aids also help to explain their use to avoid confusion and encourage independent living.

The dispensers work in-conjunction with a wall plate in a contrasting colour, the dispenser or wall plate are both available in either white or a strong blue colour depending on the décor of the washroom.  For example if there is a strong wall colour we recommend the white wall-plate and blue dispenser, whereas if the walls are pale the blue back plate will help differentiate the unit. Additionally, blue and white colours create a calming effect.

The range is manufactured using quality mild steel and powder coated to achieve the coloured finished.  Made to the highest quality as expected of a Dudley Industries product the range was designed with a leading industry expert and therefore suitable for use in high risk environments.

To complete the washroom décor is it recommended to provide a toilet seat in a colour that contrasts with the bowl and lid.  Hand rails should also be visible through the use of colour and leaving the bathroom door open, for example in en-suite facilities, with a light on during the night can help the person locate the bathroom quickly when needed.

Contact Dudley Industries

Talk to our team today if you think this range will support and enhance the washroom facilities you currently provide to Dementia patients.

+44 (0) 1253 738311 or email sales@dudleyindustries.com

The guidance in this blog has been collated from:

https://www.dementiauk.org/

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/

The Alzheimer’s Society ‘Dementia Friends’ programme aims to change the understanding, perception and awareness of dementia through awareness.  To learn more about the initiative please visit: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/