Someone living with dementia may find themselves forgetting where they are, how things work and where things are. Although it’s not recommended to make big changes to the home in a short space of time, there are little changes that you can make to the way your home is designed and laid out that could help someone with dementia to continue living at home independently. So, read on to discover the cost to adapt a home for dementia.
Cost to adapt a home for dementia
|Cost provided item||Unit||Cost - low||Cost - high||Average cost|
|Replace a light switch like-for-like||Per light switch||-||-||£75|
|Move a light switch||Per light switch||-||-||£150|
|Add a light switch||Per light switch||-||-||£150|
|Carpet for standard size bedroom||Per room||£85||£95||£90 + VAT|
|Carpet for standard size lounge||Per room||£55||£65||£60 + VAT|
|Carpet for single straight staircase||Per room||£75||£100||£87.50 + VAT|
|Carpet underlay fitting||Per m2||£1||£4||£2.50|
|Solid wood flooring||Per m2||£35||£50||£42.50|
|Wooden floor installation||Labour per day||£100||£200||£150|
|Painter and decorator||Labour per day||£180||£200||£190|
|Interior designer||Per hour||£50||£150||£100|
|Landscape gardener||Per day||£180||£280||£230|
|Outdoor security light installation||Per light||-||-||£150|
Dementia is a syndrome that includes symptoms such as memory loss, confusion and difficulty learning. Although dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are often confused, Alzheimer’s is actually a type of dementia. Together with vascular dementia, this type makes up the majority of cases.
There are a number of things you can do around the home to make life easier for someone living with these conditions, such as using contrasting colours, avoiding shiny flooring and adopting signage. There are many factors that will affect the cost to adapt a home for dementia, including the condition of the house, what needs to be done and the cost of labour in your area. We’ve laid out some changes you could consider.
Good lighting can help to avoid confusion and reduce the risk of falls. So, it’s particularly important on the stairs and in the bathroom. Making light switches easily accessible and straightforward to use will also benefit most people with dementia (as well as older people in general).
To replace a light switch like-for-like, you’re looking at a cost of around £75. Meanwhile, you can expect to pay around £150 to move a lightswitch or to add a new one.
To make things even easier, why not consider automatic light sensors? These lights will come on automatically each time someone passes the sensor.
It’s best to try to avoid shiny or reflective flooring as some people living with dementia may see it and perceive it as being wet. This could lead them to struggle to walk over it. Similarly, rugs or mats on the floor could lead some to become confused and think that the rug or mat is an object that needs to be stepped over. This could in turn lead to trips or falls.
Usually, it’s advisable to choose a flooring that’s matt and that contrasts in colour with the walls. Equally, it can help to avoid colours that can be mistaken for real things. For example, green could be mistaken for grass, while blue could be mistaken for water.
You can expect to pay around £85-£95 + VAT to get a carpet fitted in a standard-sized bedroom, or £55-£65 +VAT to get it fitted in a standard-sized lounge. This doesn’t include the cost of fitting underlay, which will come in at around £1-£4 per m2.
If you opt for solid wooden flooring, on the other hand, you’re looking at a cost of around £35-£50 per m2 for the floor itself. Then, you’ll usually have to pay approximately £100-£200 per day for a tradesperson to fit it.
Some people living with dementia can have trouble telling the difference between colours. For this reason, it can be helpful to use contrasting colours throughout the home.
We’ve already touched upon the fact that it can be useful to choose flooring that contrasts in colour with the walls. It can also be useful to use contrasting colours on the following:
- Furnishings: Choose furniture and furnishings that contrast with the walls and floors.
- Doors and bannisters: Using contrasting colours on doors and bannisters will help them to be easily seen.
- Toilet seats: Pick a toilet seat that contrasts in colour to the rest of the bathroom.
- Crockery: To help define the edges of plates and other dishes, pick crockery that contrasts with the colour of the table or table cloth.
To hire a painter and decorator for the day, you’re looking at approximately £180-£200. You could also get an interior designer to help you source bright furnishings and suitable furniture. An interior designer will usually charge between £50 and £150 per hour.
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Putting up signs and labels, such as on cupboards and doors, may help to guide somebody living with dementia. For example, it can be helpful to put a toilet sign up on the bathroom door. The average handyman in the UK charges £20-30 per hour.
Ensure that signs are clear and that they have words (and appropriate pictures) that contrast with the background they’re on. It’s also useful to place signs a little lower than you would usually, as older people often look downwards.
Gardens and outside spaces
When it comes to adapting the garden and other outside spaces, make sure that all walking surfaces are flat to prevent any trips and falls. A landscape gardener will be able to sort this for you, for around £180-£280 per day.
In a similar vein, it can be useful to add additional lighting, especially around the entrance to the garden and along paths, so that someone living with dementia can see clearly if they return home in the dark. The average cost to install an outdoor security light is £150, but for a powerful, 30-watt version, you’re looking at more like £175. It’s also important to ensure any outdoor space is secure, to prevent someone from wandering out.
Remember that time outdoors connecting with wildlife can be great for mental health. Setting up some sheltered seating areas will enable someone to stay outdoors for longer, while raised flower beds will help someone with restricted mobility to spend time looking after their garden.
Consider installing bird feeders, bug boxes and planting a variety of flowers and herbs too. This range of wildlife will help to engage someone living with dementia. A gardener will usually cost around £15-£45 per hour.
Finally, consider investing in technology that can make someone’s life easier and help to reduce vulnerability. Installing a Ring doorbell is a cost-effective way to achieve both, costing just £160 on average to install.
Cost to adapt a home for dementia key takeaways
- The cost to adapt a home for dementia will depend on the condition of the house and what needs to be done.
- Make sure to get a needs assessment from your local council if the person living with dementia hasn’t yet had one.
- Smart technologies such as automatic light sensors and a Ring doorbell can help to make life easier and reduce vulnerability.
- The NHS and Alzheimer’s society have more information and resources available to refer to.
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