True Doors are a simple idea with a big effect that improve the quality of life for people with dementia.
True Doors are made to measure decals with photos of actual doors. Residents at nursing homes select their own decals. As a result:
- Residents recognise and find their own doors
- Reminiscence and social interaction is stimulated
- Facilities feel more like homes
- Residents' identities and life stories are brought to the fore
Residents and family typically select True Doors from our online collection of 500 decals, the largest in the world .
Nursing staff, family members and elders share their experiences of True Doors
By choosing their own True Door, we learnt more about the resident’s past and ‘who they are’. There’s a home-like atmosphere now and a more individualistic character.– Christel de Groote | Occupational Therapist at OCMW Gent, WZC Het Heiveld in Gent, Belgium
The doors are so nice! Each one is so individual to the residents’ lives and experiences. Each time we walk past them we talk about them. Certainly does bring a homely feeling.– Terera Brown | Step-daughter of a resident at Nashwaak Villa in New Brunswick, Canada
I can tell my mother feels happier and safer since she received a True Door. She really likes it and thinks it perfectly fits her personality.– P. vd Zanden | A family member of a resident at Stichting Elisabeth in Breda
Some residents feel like they are back in the past, in the street were they grew up. They recognise their own door. Some of them have conversations about the True Doors, while walking together around the ward.– A. Vissers | Nurse at Laverhof Het Retraitehuis in Uden
The True Doors made it easier to tell the residents where their rooms are. Choosing the doors brings back memories, which increases the feeling of privacy. My home, my front door. Also, the doors are a nice start for a conversation.– Christina Geyssens | Head Nurse at OCMW Gent – WZC Het Heiveld in Gent, Belgium
They’ve helped create a more individualized environment that is warmer. The Elders are recognizing some features about their doors and being drawn to it.- this is improving way-finding. They look great, when family or staff first walk in it’s like WOW- and they are all blown away because of how beautiful and realistic they are. It changes the feel of the whole area. Now I have to find the time to take people on walk-thru tours!!!– Kylie Paxton | Manager Lifestyle and Leisure at Mercy Health Mercy Health Bethlehem Home for the Aged in Victoria, Australia
I love the whole new look given to the wing. It looks clearer, more presentable and has a “cool” feeling, I’ve observed my husband who’ 100 years old, correctly identify his room door. My husband has dementia and I visit the facility daily.– | Wife of resident at Acacia Living Group in Western Australia
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 in New Brunswick, Canada
The door has really improved this elder’s quality of life. She was having a really hard time adjusting and identifying her room as her space. She was spending her days sitting outside of her room and guarding it to make sure that none of the other elders went in. She would frequently tell us we could have the room back and that she was going home. We have seen a huge improvement in her since we got her True Door in place. No more episodes of blocking her door, she finally identifies it as her room, and she is not constantly asking to go home every day. She absolutely loves the door and couldn’t believe it was hers. It has truly improved her quality of life.– Tiffany Terriaco | Assistant Director of Nursing at Nazareth Home in Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Residents now know which room is theirs. In the evenings they say: “I’m home, I’m going to sleep now!” There’s less agitation. Family members are also very excited about the doors.– | Nurse at De Waalboog Verpleeghuis Joachim en Anna in Nijmegen
Want to learn more?
Register for complimentary tools and resources to support your True Doors project.
Success Guide for Care Organisations
- How do you define and achieve your goals for a True Doors project?
- How do you build the business case?
- How can you manage your project step-by-step?
- How can elders get involved in selecting True Doors?
Create and print your own catalogue
- Save your favourites with colleagues, family members and residents themselves.
- Print your favourites in a personalised catalogue to make the final selection, all while learning more about the story behind each elder's door.