What does this mean to you? Think about it, every care plan/service plan for residents with memory loss and/or risk for falls says, “keep room clutter-free”. So, what exactly does that mean? We have seniors who have lived in cluttered homes their entire lives, some are even hoarders, and they have managed without our care plan/service plan of “clutter-free environment” right?
An interesting study published in News Medical Life Sciences identified that no matter how cluttered a person’s home was, people with moderate dementia performed daily tasks better in that environment than in a “NEAT” bungalow that was set up for the study. The only factor that contributed to how well they could carry out tasks at home was their level of cognition. Of course, we want to assess each resident’s cognitive ability ongoing and investigate any incidents that occur in their room to be sure “clutter” didn’t contribute to a negative outcome.
At the end of the day, our resident rooms need to be accessible to caregivers and visitors however not at the risk of taking away some of the personal “clutter” we all carry around with us throughout our lives. Sure, return the empty bottles and cans and put the refund money in the resident’s trust account but can we just leave the week worth of newspapers, extra pair of slippers, comforters, and sentimental memory items alone? Even that old, stained recliner, they might love it! Just remember to care plan their wishes so that some surveyor doesn’t decide the room is “too cluttered”! Stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!