For someone living with dementia, navigating their own home can feel confusing and overwhelming.

A dementia-friendly home is a home that has been thoughtfully adapted to support the needs of a person living with the condition. While some adaptations might seem small, they can have a major positive impact on daily life.

This blog looks at what adaptations can be made to transform a property into a dementia-friendly home.

Understanding Dementia: How It Impacts Daily Life

The term dementia refers to a group of symptoms that affect and cause a decline in cognitive function. Dementia affects thinking, memory, and judgement and can severely affect everyday life. 

Dementia is caused by different conditions. Alzheimer’s disease is the disease we most readily associate dementia with and accounts for around 70% of cases.

Let’s look at how dementia disrupts the life of both the individual with the condition and their caregivers…

Impaired Memory Function

Memory loss is often associated with dementia, and it can affect both short-term and long-term memory. This can make remembering appointments or medication, names, and the ability to perform daily tasks a struggle. 


Dementia can affect an individual’s language skills. This can make it difficult for them to communicate effectively and understand other people.

Confusion And Disorientation

Dementia comes hand in hand with disorientation. Disorientation describes a mental confusion that specifically attacks the sense of direction and time. Patients in all stages of Alzheimer’s can experience high stress and confusion when they become disorientated, especially considering their impaired memory function.

Confusion and disorientation heavily increase the risk of accidents or getting lost. 

Behaviour And Personality

Individuals with dementia may experience changes in personality and behaviour, from mood swings to irritability to complete withdrawal.

Minor Adaptations For A Dementia Friendly Home

Adaptations can be categorised into minor and major changes. Minor adaptations are changes that don’t require significant changes to a home’s structure and tend to be easier on the wallet and simpler to execute.

There are tons of minor changes that help to create a dementia-friendly home. 


Shadowed areas and dark spaces can be confusing and disorientating if you have dementia, so proper lighting is important. 

Ensuring daylight can enter a room will help individuals keep track of the time of day. Dimmer switches are easily manipulated by less dextrous hands, and installing sensor lights can make moving around the house much easier – especially if frequent night waking is present.


A dementia-friendly home needs to be as safe as possible, and that means removing rugs, clutter and other trip hazards. 

The type of flooring matters, too. Plain, matt, non-slip flooring is easiest for people with dementia to negotiate, and contrasting the colour of the floor to the colour of the walls makes it easier for individuals to see where they are going. 



Colour and pattern can be confusing and disorientating for people with dementia, and neutral colours that blend into surroundings can also be difficult to see. 

Using bright colours that stand out and contrasting furniture pieces to the walls and the floor reduces the risk of confusion and is a simple step in achieving a dementia-friendly home.

Grab Rails

A grab rail is a support bar installed onto a wall that can be held onto for help getting up or down or to prevent falling. Positioning grab rails where someone might need extra help, like next to the toilet, in the shower and along the stairs, can reduce the risk of falls.

Add Smart Tech

Smart home hubs can offer several benefits to dementia-friendly homes. 

From featuring big clock faces to help with time and date recognition, to help making lists and setting reminders, smart tech can support individuals with daily tasks. Smart home hubs can also be linked to home safety features like video doorbells and smart locks on doors and windows, ensuring individuals are kept safe and the family alerted if unusual activity is detected.


Steps or stairs leading up to a property’s threshold or within split-level rooms indoors are a serious trip hazard. Installing a ramp – you can read about all the different types in our comprehensive blog here – reduces the risk of trips and falls, enabling individuals to get into and out of the property safely.

Supporting Independence At Home

Adaptations can enhance the person’s sense of dignity and control and provide peace of mind for carers and family.

Adapting The Kitchen For Ease Of Use 

Here are some minor adaptations for the kitchen area of dementia-friendly homes. 

Clear Labels

Using large, clear labels, ideally with pictures, helps individuals to identify and find things easily. For example, sticking a picture of knives and forks on the cutlery drawer will help a patient find what they need. 

Simple Appliances

When ovens and hobs become unsafe to use, the microwave is the go-to cooking solution for people with dementia. Microwaves are uncomplicated and can be used safely; complicated gadgets can cause frustration and confusion. 

Colourful Crockery

Patterns and textures can be disorientating for people with dementia. Instead, use plain and brightly coloured plates, mugs and other crockery because they are less confusing for the brain. 

Open Shelves

Open shelves make items easily visible, providing far less overwhelm when hunting for something in the kitchen. 

Cooker Guard

Using sensors installed above the cooker to measure the generated temperature, cooker guards automatically turn off the cooker if a user forgets or if the temperature gets too high. Users are also able to set cooking times, with an alarm alerting them when the cooking time is over. 

Adapt The Bathroom For Accessibility And Safety 

The bathroom is another area which needs modification in a dementia-friendly home. There are many adaptations that can make the bathroom safer and easier to use.

Level Access Shower

Sitting flush with the floor, level access showers remove the trip hazard of the shower tray lip, making washing a much safer task.

Shower Seat

Shower seats provide individuals with somewhere to rest rather than standing for long periods. Standing can be uncomfortable, or even impossible, and lead to fatigue and falls.

dementia friendly home

Accessible Toilet

Conventional WCs sit too low for comfort for many people with reduced mobility. Raising the seat or installing a toilet that is wall-hung to a height specific to the user eases the strain on the body.

Another simple adaptation is removing the toilet seat lid to reduce confusion. The seat must also contrast with the pan so that it is easily identifiable.


Fittings, equipment and facilities need to contrast with the wall or tile colour to stand out and mitigate confusion and disorientation. This includes things like light switches, sink stalls, and grab rails.


As with the kitchen space, dementia-friendly homes keep stored goods visible on open shelves rather than hidden away. This makes for a much more accessible bathroom.

Finding Support To Create A Dementia Friendly Home

Designing a dementia-friendly home can be an overwhelming project, and you might wonder where a good place to start is. 

As specialist adaptation contractors, the John Ford Group has the expert knowledge and experience needed to help the project get off to a flying start. 

With a very empathetic team who understand the emotional toll a dementia diagnosis can have on a family, we are incredibly mindful of how upsetting the process of change can be for individuals living with the condition. We are committed to carrying out adaptations in a person-centred way with as little disruption as possible. 

Dementia-Friendly Homes Must Meet Changing Needs

A dementia-friendly home is one that needs to evolve as the condition progresses, but adaptations can be completed at a pace that doesn’t overwhelm the individual and cause stress. 

Are you at the beginning of your adaptation journey? Wondering if there is funding available for the changes you need to make?

Get in touch with the John Ford Group today for advice and practical solutions for creating a dementia-friendly environment within your home.