If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, safety around the home becomes a primary concern. Adapting the home to fit your loved one’s needs helps them stay safe and comfortable. If you’re a dementia caregiver, it’s important to take preventative measures in the home to avoid falls, accidents, and wandering.
As the disease advances, individuals with dementia may become unaware of potential dangers. They may forget how to use household appliances, fail to throw away rotten food, become easily confused, or have trouble balancing. That’s why it’s important to minimize household hazards and provide safe home care. Furthermore, creating a safe space for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia maximizes their independence for as long as possible. Let’s take a look at various ways you can keep your loved one with dementia safe at home.
Dementia Caregiver Tips: How to Keep Your Loved One Safe in Each Area of the Home
The kitchen is the most hazardous space in the home for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Take preventative measures by restricting access to dangerous appliances. To prevent a family member from burning their hands or arms, apply stove knob covers to the stove. You may also consider removing the knobs from the stove or deactivating the gas when the stove is not in use.
If you’re caring for an individual with dementia, you may want to consider disconnecting the garbage disposal. This will help prevent injuries while you’re not around. When it comes to food, mark all items with the purchase date and frequently check for expired foods that need to be thrown away. Lastly, remove any objects that resemble artificial and decorative fruits or vegetables.
Laundry Room Safety
The best way for Alzheimer’s or dementia caregivers to stop a family member from ingesting harmful chemicals is to move all liquid laundry packets, bleach, and dryer sheets to a secure location. Additionally, make sure to clean out the lint and dryer ducts frequently to prevent dryer mishaps from occurring.
If an individual with dementia is able to bathe themselves, a practical way for caregivers to prevent injuries such as scalding includes adjusting the temperature on the water heater. Adjust the water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your family member safe. Furthermore, to ensure your loved one doesn’t slip, install non-slip stickers in areas such as the the flooring and in front of the bathtub
To ensure your mom or dad with dementia is not able to lock themselves inside of a bedroom, you may want to remove locks from the doors in the home. For individuals with advanced dementia, installing a baby monitor in the room is an easy way for Alzheimer’s or dementia caregivers to prevent accidents and keep a family member safe. Other dementia care safety measures include making sure closet shelves are accessible and providing seating near the bed to help with dressing. Consider setting out their clothes for them to avoid injuries when reaching for clothing items in the closet.
Garage & Basement Safety
Garages and basements contain dangerous appliances that can harm an individual with dementia. A vital safety tip for dementia caregivers includes restricting access to weed trimmers, bikes, lawnmowers, snowblowers, and other large equipment. Keep these items out of reach or in a secured area. If an individual living with dementia is no longer able to drive, lock all vehicles. You may also want to consider covering or removing the vehicle to prevent accidents.
5 Ways To Keep Individuals With Alzheimer’s & Dementia Safe at Home
Provide Reminders to Loved Ones
A daily routine is imperative to keep your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia functional and confident. In the earlier stages of dementia, an excellent way to care for your family member includes providing reminders for activities such as dressing, bathing, grooming, eating, and self-care.
We recommend placing handwritten notes throughout the home. Remind your family member with Alzheimer’s and dementia to continuously brush their teeth or wash their hands. You should also consider placing a reminder on the fridge to ensure your loved one eats. These notes are an excellent way to foster independence and keep your loved one safe.
If making hand-written notes for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, please keep each note simple by using short sentences and clear handwriting. If your loved one with dementia no longer understands words, use pictures or color cues to set reminders instead.
Invest in Stairlifts, Wheelchairs, Walkers, & Other Support Devices
If you have a mom, dad, or relative with Alzheimer’s or dementia, an effective way to care for them is to invest in support devices. These devices will help your family member move around the house safely. There are many medical devices that improve mobility for loved ones with dementia.
These devices include walkers, canes, wheelchairs, stairlifts, and motorized scooters. Especially for homes with a lot of stairs, stairlifts are an excellent way to reduce stress for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers. Stairlifts typically consist of a foldable chair attached to a motorized railing along the stairwell. This device lifts an individual to the top or bottom of the stairs. A stairlift can be equipped with a remote for seamless navigation.
Eliminate Tripping Hazards to Prevent Accidents
The chances of falling mishaps and life-threatening injuries increase with old age and as dementia advances. If you’re providing care to a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to reduce accidents at home. Keep rooms, stairways, and hallways well-lit. Remove any tripping hazards, such as rugs, extension cords, and unnecessary objects to keep hallways clear. Consider giving your loved one with dementia non-slip shoes and socks. These fall preparation measures are designed to help you care for your family member.
Purchase a Mobile Phone For Your Family Member
Cell phones are an essential device you should provide to parents or relatives with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This will help them keep their independence for as long as possible. When getting your loved one a cellphone, ensure that the device is simple and easy-to-use. For dementia individuals, there are simpler phone options available.
Once you have purchased a phone suitable for your loved one, program the names of their doctors, pharmacists, friends, and grandchildren into their phones. You may want to consider downloading apps for emergencies or mental stimulation to promote healthy brain function.
The most important tip for dementia caregivers includes modifying the layout of your loved ones home to prevent accidents. Install handrails and grab bars for support in spaces such as the bathroom and kitchen. If your family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia acquires a wheel-chair, you should consider installing wheel-chair accessible ramps for going in and out of the home. The little details make a huge difference.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Services in Oakbrook Terrace, IL
If you need assistance caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, give us a call by phone at (630) 534-0886. Terra Vista is a memory care assisted living community in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois that specializes in caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
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