Convenience and hygiene are considerations for the ease of the caregiver. Comfort, rest, and safety are important considerations for the loved one. Taking the time to set up the bedroom will be a tremendous help and make things easy to manage throughout all stages of the disease.
Clear out clutter to provide as much open floor space as possible. Twice the amount of floor space is needed in a handicap bedroom to store walker, wheelchair, and any other equipment. The walking path from hallway to bathroom to bed needs to be wide enough for two people to walk side by side. Falls can happen when the caregiver does not have sufficient room to provide walking assistance. Falls can cause serious injuries if someone hits a table or other furniture edge on the way to the floor.
A place for everything and everything in its place! This type of organization will help immensely if the caregiver has to come in for a 4:00 a.m. emergency clean up. I cleared out a corner of our clothes closet, and put the cedar chest into the closet to increase bedroom floor space. Then, I put all the paper products for incontinence on the chest. This arrangement helped me keep track of our supply inventory. I knew immediately when I was nearly out of the padded night-time briefs.
Clean sheets, pillow cases, and protector pads for Dean’s bed were stored above the paper products. This also helped keep track of the clean supply. When the number of protector pads was low, I knew I needed to wash clothes.
“I Can’t Lose This!” items: Dean became very anxious if he couldn’t find his glasses, keys, or wallet with insurance cards. Eventually, all these items went into a fanny pack and were kept by the front door. In the early phase, we needed a dedicated basket or drawer.
The “See it and use it” wall hooks: Dean was able to pick out his own clothes easily if he could see them. I screwed a set of hooks by the closet door for all his favorite clothes. I would hang his shorts and shirts in plain sight.
Night stand items that were used every night were in a basket by the bed.
All of these items were duplicated in the tote bag packed for vacations.
Soiled clothing had its own basket in the corner, very obvious to Dean. If he could see the basket for dirty clothes, he would place items in the receptacle.
Opening the closet door to find the basket didn’t work with the LBD. Waste paper items went into a separate large vinyl waste container with a plastic garbage bag liner in another corner.
Source: Jennings, PT, MA, Judy Towne. Living with Lewy Body Dementia. Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2012.