Tru here. Recently returned from three weeks of overnight stays at various places, and I was asked for suggestions.
Flooring: Highest priority was carpeting. Most places we stayed did not create feeling of disorientation from pattern of the carpet, but one place did. Every time I stepped out of the door to our room I was hit with feeling of the floor moving (no snakes, just movement from pattern). It was my first experience with this symptom which is not uncommon amongst people with symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia. We stayed several days and after a few minutes I learned to avoid glancing at the floor. Each time I first stepped out onto the carpet I forgot, and staggered a bit. My background in assisting with ballroom dance class stood me in good stead; “Look at your partner and not your feet”. So I glided along with my canes, and walked like I was dancing. I think maybe it was a criss-cross pattern on carpeting, but not sure.
Plumbing: Probably the item that was next in priority was water faucets. Husband was out and I ran tub until full, waiting for it to get hot — but water was still cold. Emptied and re-filled tub, this time with sink turned on, hoping hot water would finally get thru all the pipes, but that didn’t work. Gave up. I went several days with no ability to take bath or shower because could not remember which way to turn the handle in order to get hot instead of cold water. It was explained to me, but of course I had forgotten by the next time I tried. I get it that red is hot, but do you turn handle so red is up, or turn same direction as red dot, or what? It has only been a problem once before, but it was a huge problem in more than one place on this trip. At this stage I need sinks and tubs that have two handles; and both handles need to be well-marked. Additionally, suggest water temperature meets local disability requirements.
Color: My symptoms are not severe yet, but I know that when they do become severe it would also be important to have color differentiation; floor different color than plumbing fixtures, and garbage bin different color than floor, doors different color than walls, etc.
Grab-Rails: I don’t ever remember having problem with this, but husband insists that if towel racks are near tub they really should be ADA-approved hand rails securely fastened into studs and strong enough to support a person in case they are used for support bars. A couple of the motels we stayed at had towel racks pulled partially off the walls.
Electricity: Rarely does a motel supply either nightlights or electrical outlets that are in appropriate places for nightlights, so I try to always remember to bring nightlights along with an extension cord. I bring an additional extension cord to use with my breathing machine for sleep apnea (which is another common problem among folks with Lewy Body Dementia symptoms). This needs an additional extension cord because most motels do not supply an electrical outlet within easy reach of night stand. In fact the last motel had no night stand at all on my side of bed. (And actually both my partner and I use machines, so we both need night stands and outlets.) However, one motel not only had an extension in easy reach but even had it mounted to side of night stand, so that I did not need to crawl on floor to access it. I suspect it was usually used to charge cell phones, which is brilliant placement since my cell phone doubles as night clock while charging.
Floor Plan: There was no emergency while we were away, but if there had been I would have had a problem getting out from some of the motels. Sometimes there were three doors close together; the entrance, the bathroom, and the door to what I assume was a suite. A few times these became confusing, with me not really knowing which door was the entrance/exit. A few places have the motel phone numbers and basic information posted on the back of entrance door, and that really helps. There needs to be something clearly delineating the entrance/exit door.
I think these concepts might make life easier and safer for many people with dementia symptoms. If I think of more, I will add it here. If you think of more suggestions for overnight stays, please add as comment.
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