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Dementia-Friendly 'Apartment' Showcases Technology, Designs For Helping Loved Ones With Alzheimer's

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Welcome to "The Apartment," a full-scale model of a home in New York City designed by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America to show how technology and innovative design ideas can help people living with dementia.

A calming color scheme, for example, can help if your loved one is agitated.

"Absolutely, so you see the blue on the couch and the bedding and throughout the apartment. It affects an individual's mood," says Charles J. Fuschillo Jr., president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

In the kitchen, the smart refrigerator has a camera inside that caregivers and family can access on an app from outside the home. They can also display images and important messages on the door.

"That will tell you, are they taking their medication? Are they eating and are they drinking when you're not here?" he tells CBS New York's Cindy Hsu.

The stove can be completely covered with burners that will only heat up to a certain temperature.

"In case there's a fire, God forbid, we have extinguishers here that are hooked up by magnets that will explode at a certain temperature of baking soda and put out the fire," Fuschillo says.

There are special dishes that are easier to hold on to.

The bed can be raised and lowered by remote control. And then, there's the phone.

"This phone can be programmed with either large numbers or it can be the pictures of your family and friends," Fuschillo explains. "They could see a picture of their loved one. Just press the button and it automatically will go to them."

A simplified remote control for the TV can also help.

"So you just press one button and you go to the favorite channel. Another button, the same thing, rather than have to surf," Fuschillo says.

There are also clocks with extra big numbers and labels with words and pictures to show what's inside drawers. It's also a good idea to decorate the home with old family pictures and old magazines.

"When you look at these magazines here of Life, you remember seeing these when we were kids. It will spark a memory of something in their life," Fuschillo reveals.

And that's the hope, that your loved one's home will help them hold on to good memories.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America has also created a booklet with more tips on how to make a home dementia-friendly. Click here for more information.

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