What is a dementia-friendly bathroom?

A dementia-friendly bathroom is one where simple but careful consideration of design can reduce the barriers that people with dementia can face in carrying out daily living activities, greatly improving their safety and preserving their independence for as long as possible. This guide highlights special design considerations and the safest types of bathroom products to address them.

The bathroom is one of the most challenging and dangerous places for a person with dementia 

Products needed for a dementia-friendly bathroom don’t usually cost any more than those for a standard bathroom adaptation for the elderly, but it is essential that the most appropriate ones are chosen and that design guidelines regarding product colour etc. are followed to maximise the safety and comfort of the person with dementia. 

First Key consideration : Safety – A person with dementia may over time become less aware of basic dangers such as scalding, so their bathroom has to be made into an ultra-safe and comfortable space. 

Second Key consideration : Familiarity – For some people with dementia, adaptations can be distressing as they may fail to recognise their own bathroom. For those people it may help if a dementia-friendly bathroom adaptation is made as soon as possible after a dementia diagnosis has been given. This gives the person time to familiarise themselves with their new bathroom products and layout. 

Protecting the individual – Seven major dementia challenges 

1. Protection against scalding – Someone with dementia may progressively lose safety awareness and as a result they will become more vulnerable to scalding. 

2. Fall protection – Dementia sufferers are twice as likely to fall as others in their age group, and have a three times greater mortality rate three months later as a result. 

3. Memory loss – Short term memory loss / forgetfulness can lead to a risk of flooding. 

4. Retro memory – Most people with dementia have good long-term memory but poor short-term and so are more comfortable with familiar fixtures and fittings from the past. 

5. General confusion – For a minority of people with dementia, the reflection of their own face in a glass shower screen or mirror can frighten them and may lead them to believe another person is using the bathroom. 

6. Floor colour perception – A change in floor colour (in a room or between adjoining rooms/corridors) can lead a person with dementia to believe there is a step up or down, which on a level surface can cause trips or falls. 

7. Visual confusion – Use contrasting colours to clearly define the showering and toilet areas so the user can safely and effectively locate and use them. 

Choosing the right products for your dementia-friendly bathroom – Showers, Toilets & basins, Shower Screens & curtains, Flooring, lighting, Tiles, Storage, Heating, Doors, locks & signage.

Dementia-friendly bathroom consultations available to tailor a solution to your specific resident, building and budget needs. contact us using the details below. 

Ipswich Bathroom & Tile Centre 907c Woodbridge Road, Ipswich,IP4 4NX. Tel: 01473 271722, email: ipswich907@icloud.com, Dedicated Car Park

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