Create a relaxing environment for sleep

Making some changes to your home can help a person living with dementia. Consider what tips may work for your household as each person experiences dementia differently.
These suggestions are especially important if your loved one is anxious, fearful, in pain or having hallucinations.

  • As much as possible keep the bedroom environment familiar to the person with dementia. For example, furnish the bedroomwith personal belongings and arrange furniture the way they like it. 
  • Encourage a quiet bedroom; if possible remove noise that may wake the person with dementia during the night.

Make the bedroom and bed comfortable:

  • A warm bed in a cooler room is best.
  • Make sure the bed is the correct height and size for their body.
  • Is the bed soft enough to be comfortable, but firm enough to support the body during sleep?
  • Rearrange pillows to help relieve pain and physical conditions.
  • Close curtains or blinds at night. Cover or remove mirrors; people with dementia don’t immediately recognise their reflection and this can be more fearful at night.
  • Open the blinds or curtains at wake up time. Natural light will make it easier for the person with dementia to get up.
  • If the person is refusing to go to bed, try offering alternatives, such as sleeping on the couch.
  • Add relaxing touches that make you (and your loved one) feel good, like aroma oils, potpourri or soft music.

Consider a home safety evaluation; suggestions can be provided to you about where to place lights, bed positioning, avoiding dangerous hazards and limiting stress, fear and agitation for the person living with dementia. For more information, contact your local hospital’s Aged Care Assessment Team.