True Doors started off as an art project about ‘feeling at home’ and personalizing front doors. Today, this simple, yet effective idea has evolved into a person-centred approach to help nursing home residents with dementia recognize their home, show their personalities and share life stories.
The made-to-measure decals with pictures of real doors replace a clinical and impersonal atmosphere in a care organization, with a more homely and friendly living environment. As each door looks different to others, people find it easier to identify their own door. Improvement of way-finding and orientation is more likely when residents are involved in selecting their True Doors.
A front door of a home is so much more than just an entrance. It is part of someone’s identity, of a unique story. That is why seeing an image of a familiar door can bring back memories and be used to stimulate reminiscence. Most residents enjoy talking about their True Doors, which makes a good starting point for social interaction between the elderly, staff and family members.
One of the most frequent results is that residents walk into the wrong room less often, because each door is now different. With True Doors, people also tend to knock more often when entering someone’s room. This results in a greater sense of privacy and safety for the residents.
For four years now, we have supported inspiring and and often touching True Doors projects around the globe. We’ve received many heartwarming reactions from residents, family members and nursing staff. We are happy to share some of these reactions with you!
“Residents really like them. For those who are able, it gives them something to talk about with staff and other residents and they go on about how beautiful they are, especially when they first go up. It warms up our hallways which are quite long and institutional.”
- Megan O’Hara, Community Development Coordinator at Kings Way LifeCare Alliance, New Brunswick, Canada.
- Rose Spinks, daughter of resident at Mercy Health in Victoria, Australia.
“My mother has lived behind this door most part of her life. I can tell it is easier for her to find her own door now. Sometimes she says the mailbox should be fixed. I do believe she recognizes her front door, because she says: "I'm going home", whenever she returns to her apartment.”
-J. van Bastelaar, relative of resident Munthof, Archipel Zorggroep, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
At True Doors we believe that life stories, personalities and preferences of people with dementia matter. Having dementia does not change the fact that each of us are valuable and unique human beings, who want to be heard and treated with dignity.
Do you want to surprise your loved one with dementia with a True Door? Or are you part of a care organization that wants to create a homely and personal atmosphere for your residents?