AFA Unveils Full-Scale Apartment Model as Teaching Tool
In late May, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) unveiled "The Apartment," a full-scale model of a dementia-friendly home, as a teaching tool for families and caregivers.
Located at the organization's New York headquarters and accessible for online virtual tours, the residence showcases more than 30 practical design and technology enhancements to make a home safer and improve quality of life for those living with dementia and their care partners.
The model includes an entryway, kitchen, bedroom, bath, living room and dining area. "The Apartment was created as a teaching tool for the growing population of families who have loved ones living with dementia," said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., president & CEO of AFA.
"Because Alzheimer's disease and other dementia-related illnesses impact the mind, they can make many facets of daily living very difficult," he continued. "Safety and quality of life are two of the most important concerns for families, which is why we want them to know about steps they can take to make their homes more dementia-friendly -- from appliances to paint colors, whether they live in a house, apartment, condominium or townhouse."
AFA's Apartment showcases a host of dementia-friendly adaptations, from simple measures like putting a red wreath on the front door as a visual cue to more high tech safety solutions. A few of the featured modifications include using:
Optimum glare-free lighting that operates with circadian rhythms, natural night-day patterns of high and low blue light, plus floor-level night lights in the bedroom and bath that turn on automatically in the dark.
A motion paging system to be placed by an individual's bedside or bedroom door to detect motion, sending a wireless signal to the care partner pager; an alert system/video doorbell, and smart smoke & carbon monoxide alarms.
A smart refrigerator that enables caregivers to see inside remotely, an electric tea kettle that automatically turns off, and clear-front cabinets to aid with memory recall and help those whose vision is challenged.
An ergonomic motion chair, large number/photograph telephone, adjustable style bed, and round end tables to prevent injury from sharp corners.
Color contrast dishware and place settings, elevated plates to bring food closer, weighted silverware, coated spoon, and ergonomic mugs.
To take a virtual tour, go online to alzfdn.org/TheApartment. In addition to the practical video suggestions, a free companion piece, The Apartment: A Guide to Creating a Dementia-Friendly Home, is available to caregivers. The 20-page booklet showcases each of the rooms with detailed, step-by-step summaries of dementia-friendly modification, as well as a sample product listing appendix.