Home Safety & Alzheimer's Disease
Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease can continue to live at home, but it requires some safety precautions as well as a knowledgeable and patient caregiver. This will give the Alzheimer’s afflicted individual the freedom of living at home, while also providing family members peace of mind that their loved one will not be in danger.
How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Impact One’s Safety?
Alzheimer’s disease causes a variety of changes to develop throughout the mind and body of a person, which often puts the safety and wellbeing of that person at risk. The severity of its impact depends on the stage of the disease. Some of these risks to safety include:
- Judgement: Those with Alzheimer’s disease might forget how to use household appliances.
- Sense of time and place: This disease might cause one to get lost in familiar areas.
- Behavior: Confusion, fear, and suspicion are common behavioral changes in individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Physical ability: Alzheimer’s disease may also cause individuals to have difficulty with balance.
- Senses: Trouble with vision, hearing, and changes in sensitivity to temperature or depth perception also present threats to a person’s safety.
Home Safety Tips
If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, here are some tips that will provide a safer living environment:
- Evaluate the home and surrounding area: People who have Alzheimer’s disease may potentially be at risk if they venture in certain areas within the home, or outdoors. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to garages, basements and other outside areas where tools, chemicals, or cleaning supplies are stored as these could pose a hazard to them.
- Eliminate kitchen dangers: To prevent an individual with Alzheimer’s disease from turning on the stove, install a hidden gas valve or circuit breaker on the stove, or use appliances that have an automatic shut-off feature. It is also a good idea to remove decorative fruits, sugar substitutes, and seasonings from tables and counters.
- Always be prepared for an emergency: In the event of an emergency, you will need to have easy access to phone numbers and addresses for local police and fire departments as well as hospitals and poison control hotlines. Always keep a list of these handy, so you are able to react quickly to an emergency.
- Ensure that safety devices are in working order: Always be certain that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working. It is also important to either keep a fire extinguisher on hand, or have easy access to one.
- Install locks out of sight: People with Alzheimer’s disease sometimes wander out of the house. To prevent this, install deadbolts in areas that are not easy for them to access. It is also advisable to remove locks from bedrooms to prevent a person from getting locked inside.
- Make sure walkways have adequate lighting: To prevent the risk of disorientation and accidents, add extra lights to entries, doorways, stairways, bedrooms, and other areas that might benefit from ample lighting.
- Eliminate the presence of guns and other weapons: Keeping a weapon in a home with someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease is an unnecessary risk. He or she might believe you are an intruder, or someone who intends to cause harm.
- Keep medications locked: To avoid the possibility of an overdose, keep medications safely locked away, and use a pill box organizer or daily list to check off each one and ensure they are being taken as prescribed.
- Eliminate tripping hazards: Make sure the floor is free of clutter to prevent tripping accidents.
- Prevent bathroom injuries: Falls are some of the most common accidents among the elderly, and even more so for those with Alzheimer’s disease who may have issues with balance. As such, installing a walk-in shower, or adding handle bars to a shower and tub could be incredibly helpful. Consider applying adhesives to rugs, so that they stay in place, or you may choose to remove them completely. If you do not have a rug, be sure to add textured stickers to slippery surfaces.
Ultimately, the goal is to facilitate independence, while ensuring safety. A home should not feel too restrictive and social interaction should be encouraged. Living at home could be incredibly beneficial, so make sure these safety measures are taken to help your loved one enjoy the comfort of home without the threat of dangerous hazards.
Support to Keep You or Your Loved One Living at Home
At Home Healthcare understands the importance of independent living, as well as the struggles of caring for an aging parent or loved one who may have Alzheimer’s disease. We are here to offer the care and support you or your loved one needs to remain living independently while at home. Our skilled caregivers are thoroughly screened through background and reference checks, and have been proven to deliver the best quality of service in the industry.
At Home Support, a division of At Home Healthcare, offers support services that include companion care, such as pet assistance, conversation, meal preparation, light housekeeping, and transportation. Our staff also provides personal care services, including bathing and dressing, feeding, assistance with medications, and exercise. For individuals who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, we monitor home safety, offer stimulating activities, and provide companionship and 24 hour care.
Your loved one does not have to relinquish independence. Call us today at (877) 959-9093 to learn more about our services and how we can help you and your loved one.