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Company Creates Personalized Door Stickers to Help Patients with Dementia Feel at Home

True Doors has created customizable door stickers that allow dementia patients the ability to transform an impersonal environment into a place of familiarity and identity.

The concept is simple – the company has a collection of door designs that are available to order online. For a more personalized approach, a customer can upload their photo of a door that can then be recreated. The website also offers step-by-step instructions on how to measure and prepare the door along with how to properly adhere and maintain the sticker.

Credit: True Doors

The creation of True Doors started with their Creative Director, Marieke van Diepen, who has always been fascinated by doors. Starting with her own, she began to take photos of doors wherever she went. While living in an apartment in Amsterdam, she noticed that all the doors were identical and that it made the building feel impersonal. She started to design a personalized door that she called “Opplakdeuren” or “sticker doors.” The project inspired her final paper that she submitted to the art academy in 2007.

She later met and described her project to Rahzeb Choudhury who also began to think about the role of doors in his life and how he used to take photographs in front of his childhood house. He ended up finding a photo of himself standing in front of a door in Bangladesh and realized that something as simple as a door had brought back many memories.

Upon finding the appropriate material for the stickers and working with an expert who had experience with patients with dementia, the group started their first project at a care home in October 2014. The project installed over 20 stickers and was well received. In an interview with the Anja Meeuwesen, the care manager at the Bijsterstede Care Home, she explained how the personalized doors were able to stimulate memory and help the patient build a connection. The link would ultimately assist with the patient transition into their new environment and make them feel comfortable.

Not only have the stickers become popular in care homes, but they have found students who live in dorm rooms using the service as well. In the publication done by the Trimbos Institute in September 2015, the report detailed the benefits of using True Doors with patients living with dementia. This type of person-centered care has been known to have an impact on dementia patients by providing them with a positive interaction that leads to an overall increase in well-being. It observed that it had improved orientation by allowing patients a way to recognize their rooms while providing a sense of safety and privacy. True Doors has also been able to evoke nostalgic memories, allowing for increase conversation and mental stimulation.

The Netherlands-based company has attributed their success to creating a high-quality product and providing a personalized approach. They work one-on-one with customers to help them identify and select a door sticker that is meaningful to them.

Choudhury, the Executive Director, says that he is often surprised that, “such a simple idea can be so effective at changing behavior and helping people.” They have received positive feedback, not just from patients, but also caregivers and families of patients. Choudhury and his team have collected over 100 different reactions to True Doors which can be found on their website.

Regarding the future, Choudhury has said they’ve received interest outside of Europe, and they hope to find partners in North America and Australia to help expand the True Doors project.

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