Monitoring your Home:
Making it a Safe Environment for Alzheimer’s
It’s a scary day when you have to ask yourself if your loved one is safe to be on their own, even if it is just for a few hours a day. As Alzheimer’s progresses it impairs previous normal functions both in the body and mind and this can lead to many safety concerns.
- Physical ability: motor skills can be diminished
- Senses: vision (and depth perception), hearing, changes to temperature sensitivity
- Mood/Behavior: getting easily frustrated because of forgetfulness, or confused about surroundings
When you begin to consider all the safety precautions that you should consider along with implementing them in the home it can feel overwhelming. But consider that making changes to the home is not nearly as difficult as trying to change your loved ones behavior. In these cases it’s better to be overly prepared than to just try to wing it. When you anticipate the risks you can prevent them.
Begin with the most obvious places/things that could be hazardous. Keep doors locked to any place that could be harmful. And store certain appliances out of reach and use only when a caregiver is around. Make sure electrical appliances are away to prevent electric shock.
- Tools (don’t forget gardening tools as well)
- Kitchen appliances
- Bathroom appliances
- Electrical equipment
- Kitchen knives
- Car keys (these should be kept away for obvious reasons)
- Toilet & Shower areas need grab bars (also cover tub faucet with foam cover in case of fall)
- Fix slippery areas (add non-slip mats)
- Install night lights for nighttime bathroom needs
- Keep the stair safe and secure a gate
One often overlooked place is inside the refrigerator. It is more common than you think that spoiled food is consumed by people suffering from dementia. It is sometimes very hard for them to tell the difference between something good or rotten.
Rugs: These can be easily tripped over and can cause bad falls.
Reduce the water temperature and set it to a max of 120 degrees to prevent burns.
Remove bathroom locks (your loved one could lock themselves in and fall, or just forget how to unlock it themselves)
Install a monitoring device. There are so many great ones on the market, and being able to see and hear them will give you peace of mind.
All in all avoid clutter. Keep things clean, organized and embrace the mantra of “less is more”. Recycle magazine and newspaper stacks. Keep plants watered. Remove fragile decorations.
We Have Special Skills for Helping Patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia:
Our caregivers are available to assist with personal care, household services, respite and/or companion care while bringing exceptional compassion, skills and knowledge about Alzheimer’s and dementia to our clients.