Taking a trip down memory lane takes on new meaning when focusing on retrofitting a home with a nod to the needs of a senior suffering from one of the dementia types.
A trend in retro-decorating or “dementia-proofing” a senior loved one’s home can be a preventative, holistic and cost-effective method that may make day-to-day routines a bit more familiar for some seniors.
What is retro-decorating?
Retro-decorating a home is a matter of identifying your loved one’s interests and pastimes from a bygone era, and then tastefully incorporating relevant vintage items and nostalgic objects into home décor. Perhaps familiar items such as a rotary dial phone from the workplace or an old kitchen timer will kindle recognition and ease with your senior.
Why does it work?
Dementia progressively debilitates a person’s global cognitive abilities, and often results in declining and terminal memory loss. Short-term memory is diminished first, while long-term memory is often retained and can be stimulated. Therefore, retro-decorating may create a sense of ease and reduce anxiety for dementia sufferers because they are familiar with environments that they recognize through their intact long-term memory.
Familiar objects to consider for retro-decorating or “memory therapy,” include:
- Old-style fixtures/appliances/fittings
- Vintage furniture
- Scent recollection from old soap/cleaning/toiletry brands, e.g. Lysol, Tussy, Pepsodent
- Vintage advertisements
- Cultural references
Get started with fun and cost-effective ways to retro-style your loved one’s home! Here’s where to begin:
- Local antiques and consignment shops
- Garage sales
- Online auction sites
- Retro outfitter furniture stores
- Thrift stores
- The family attic or basement