The director of a nursing facility in Dresden, Germany accidentally discovered a way to help patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease thrive. He did it by creating a space that reminds residents of their earlier lives in communist East Germany.
Décor, memorabilia, and music all contribute to an atmosphere that evokes old East Germany. Residents who once were bedridden and others unable to function well suddenly were cheerful, more engaged, and active after spending time in the space. See the full story at http://bit.ly/2sHRifN.
And while it’s unlikely that your loved ones with dementia will find resonance with communist memorabilia, maybe decorating a room with familiar things — furniture, decorative objects, and vintage cookware and plates — from their younger years could spark something in them and bring some comfort and peace.
“Granny Pods,” are the latest rage. If you can afford one, or already have one, this is a convenient way to reproduce familiar surroundings.
The typical Granny Pod averages 12 by 24 feet and is comparable to the size of a master bedroom. MEDCottage makes three styles: the MEDCottage Classic, the LivingROO (designed to fit into a garage space) and the MotherShip (designed on an RV platform). Of course, you can build your own or remodel a structure you already have on your property. While you’re at it, you can design it in a style that would remind the occupant of past good times.
While one’s aging parents may like the sense of independence the Granny Pods seem to provide, the independence comes at a price — potential loneliness. If you go that route, make sure you visit.
When you’re already losing your memory, giving up your home of 20-plus years and moving into a new environment can be especially daunting. But whether Mom and Dad move to a Granny Pod or into assisted living, their new home decor can create a more comfortable living environment.
True Doors creates door covers using the image of a door from the patient’s previous house, thereby recreating the look of the front door they knew and loved. The company says its custom door decorations jog the memory of patients and help with orientation, making it easier for them to find their rooms in assisted living facilities where, typically, all doors look the same.
The concept is similar to designs implemented at Lantern care homes in Ohio, where founder Jean Makesh has replicated a small town from the 1940s. The logic is that Alzheimer’s patients may lose recent memories but usually retain recollections from the time they were 21 years old and younger. The nostalgic environment feels familiar to them even as they suffer memory loss.
Granny Pods and True Doors are just two ideas for re-creating the past. Other resources like eBay and your local antique markets can be helpful with decorating ideas as well.