This Organization Helps Make Nursing Homes Feel Like Home

True Doors makes front door replicas so that the elderly, who are sometimes far away from home, can feel a little more warmth in their assisted living residences.

Aug 9, 2019

We often don’t think too much about the significance of our doors. However, for men and women with dementia, a familiar door can provide them with a safer and more comfortable environment.  In a residence where all the doors look exactly the same, having a unique and customizable door can help such individuals find their room more easily. This, in essence, reduces the chances that they will walk into the wrong room, thus increasing both privacy and safety.

“You know what I think when I come in?” says one resident with a True Door decal. “That I’m home.” 

While customized doors, in general, are great ways to increase individuality and identity (something very important for dementia patients), what is especially beautiful about True Door decals is that they replicate people’s real front doors - the ones they lived with for decades before they moved to nursing homes. 

When a dementia patient sees a door that they lived with for over thirty years, something special happens. 

True Door decals are part of what researchers call person-centered care. Studies have shown that personalized care can help people with dementia to function better. Moreover, providing a unique and individualized environment is also proven to be helpful for the wellbeing of family members too. 

Installing memory-laden doors is also a great way for people to strike up a conversation with one another and to tell stories from their past. 

As the website explains: “True doors are a piece of everyday art. People often talk about, enjoy and are proud of their True Doors.”

True Doors, therefore, meets people at the intersection of individuality, community, and communication. 

At the end of the day, Dorothy was right - there is no place like home. Now, the elderly can appreciate a small piece of home every time they walk in the door.

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Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.